Cannabis Restoration and Protection 2020: My Line-by-Line Explanation

As promised, here is the “line-by-line” of my latest “Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act 2020”.

Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Colorado – there are reasons why I picked these five.  The Midwest is the heartland of our country, the essence of what it means to be an American.  For the rebirth of an agricultural industry as immense as Cannabis, these are ideal, (though, please note, I am most certainly not opposed to including other states in this action).
These states are no stranger to hemp. This once major cash crop would now return with far more fervor, bringing a seemingly endless number of products, from plastics to food to medicine. The impact on these states, those around them and the nation, would be immense.
Our farmers have been hit hard by the political blundering – and plundering – by state and Federal lawmakers.  Adding Cannabis to our farmer’s crop list would revitalize all aspects of farming.

Most importantly, all five of these states have the unique ability to do what is called a “Direct Initiative”.  Only sixteen of our nation’s states have this power. This means the voters of these states can bi-pass the lawmakers – even the Governor – and, with enough signatures from the voting public, can place an issue on the ballot of a general election where the majority of Americans would decide.  When it comes to Cannabis, we have known for years that we have a majority – throughout the nation. So the only hurtle that stands in the way of REAL legalization, is actually getting it on the ballot.
Why would any state waste this most incredible opportunity by not pressing for everything…what we all have wanted from the beginning?

This is how we change law profoundly.  We must do it completely.

There have been a few alterations to this, my fourth revision of the “Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act”, but I believe it is the best version to date. I have strived to make this template as simple and concise as possible. It’s now nine points instead of eleven.  There are only minor changes between each of the five state initiatives – and in that, only when a particular state required additional text.
I have always remained cognizant of the fact that I’m amending state constitutions.  This MUST not be attempted without careful consideration of the language and the purpose.  The Constitution and it’s many facets must SERVE and PROTECT the people or it is of no value.  Additions MUST support that goal.

Some have sought to plagiarize my writings. I am not as concerned with them as much as I am the “cherry pickers”, who have gleaned only what they think will catch the eye of investors while falling short of anything meaningful – or worse, further entrenching prohibitionist abuses.
Unlike them, I have given years of careful consideration to each and every word of my initiative.  There is a reason for why I wrote it the way I did. I have removed all senseless repetition and fluff and avoided the “lawmaker jargon”.  Anything that could undermine our goal of REAL legalization has been dealt with.

I encourage you to read my initiative for yourself. As well, carefully examine the other initiatives being pressed by political and criminal elements.  Know their purpose and how they would impact your life and the lives of generations to come.  ABOVE ALL, don’t support something you haven’t thoroughly read. Though this “Line-By-Line might seem lengthy, MY actual ballot initiative is only NINE POINTS / ONE PAGE.

* * * * * * * *

Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act 2020

One new Article is to be adopted, Article XIV (14), Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection, and to read as follows:
In each state, a new Amendment to the Constitution will be required,  Why amend the Constitution?  Because once done, it would require a general election, and the say from the majority of voters to edit or remove any part of it.
Statutory amendments won’t cut it, since the statutes can be edited at any time by lawmakers when in session, without the say of their constituents.

This is essential in freeing our nation of the tyranny that is prohibition.  Unfortunately, in the hands of profiteers and prohibitionists, to do so with their agenda could instill prohibition for generations to come. This is why strong education must ALWAYS accompany any effort to amend a Constitution.

[Controlled Substance List (CSL), Definition as a substance]

1. Cannabis shall immediately be removed from the Missouri Revised Statutes list of controlled substances and shall no longer be listed among Missouri’s drug schedules. Cannabis shall no longer be considered a controlled substance or a drug, hence forth by Missouri law, by the passage of this Act.
This is without a doubt the single most important part of this initiative.  Cannabis NEVER had a place ANYWHERE on the CSL, simply because it was, and is nontoxic.  Further, Cannabis is by definition, food.
Ratcheting it down this list incrementally would only place the plant and all who benefit from it in a worse jeopardy, as each step below Schedule I is the domain of the pharmaceutical industry – and they don’t share freely.  “Baby Steps”, in regard to Cannabis policy DON’T WORK, as I explained in my article, “The Fallacy of Baby Steps in Cannabis Reform”.
Each incremental step creates ancillary industries that thrive only at that level of prohibition, becoming future adversaries of REAL legalization. When it comes to an injustice as monumental as Cannabis prohibition, only a single, complete and final action can suffice.

As we have seen here in Colorado, “baby steps” have buried the goal of REAL legalization beneath hundreds of pages of regulations – carrying impossible rules, limits and penalties. There are more arrests and infractions today in Colorado than ever in history.  Curious how the press has avoided this fact.

[Definitions]
2. Definition of terms, as used in this Act:

(a)  “Controlled Substance List”, or “CSL” refers to Missouri’s list of controlled substances as pertains to Missouri Statutes.
(b) “Cannabis” and “Cannabis hemp” refer to the Cannabis, marihuana, marijuana, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis sativa L., Cannabis Americana, Cannabis Gigantea, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis, or any variety of Cannabis, including any derivative, concentrate, extract, flower, leaf, particle, preparation, resin, root, salt, seed, stalk, stem, or any product thereof.

(c) “Medical Cannabis” refers to Cannabis used to prevent or to treat a medical condition.

(d) “Personal use” refers to the personal use or consumption of Cannabis.”

(e) “Cannabis accessories” means any equipment, products, or materials of any kind that are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, or containing Cannabis, or for ingesting, inhaling, vaporizing, smoking or otherwise introducing Cannabis into and/or onto the human body.

(f) “Establishment” refers to a Cannabis cultivation facility, a Cannabis testing facility, a Cannabis product manufacturing facility, or a retail store, Cannabis store or other entity that cultivates, prepares, manufactures, packages, transports or sells Cannabis, Cannabis products and/or Cannabis accessories.

Understanding vernacular is vitally important, particularly when there are those who seek to twist the language to meet their divisive purposes.  Despite what anyone says, THC and CBD are Cannabinoids and NOT strains or independent varieties of plants. They are both found within ALL Cannabis strains. They are BOTH therapeutic.
THC is the single most prominent and most important Cannabinoid, most closely resembling the endogenous Cannabinoid, “Anandamide”… which explains its seemingly miraculous therapeutic benefit.
Plant based Cannabinoids (Phytocannabinoids) are not the same thing as animal-based Cannabinoids (Endocannabinoids), though their similarities are what make Cannabis such an excellent medicine.
Cannabis, marijuana, marihuana, and hemp are THE SAME PLANT.  Treating them as independent entities is absurd. The words NON TOXIC apply to all forms.  It is for that reason that ALL forms of Cannabis MUST be included when implementing legalization.

[Personal and Commercial]
3. The following acts are not unlawful and shall not be an offense under [given state] law:

(a) Possession of Cannabis for personal or medical use.
Can you possess lettuce or spinach?  Cannabis is a most nutritious and purposed food.  How could it be treated differently than ANY agricultural crop?  The right to possess and consume that which nourishes and heals our bodies is a basic human right that must be protected at all costs.

(b) Cultivating Cannabis for personal or medical use.
Personal cultivation is vital, empowering the poor and self-sufficient, as well as caregivers of the sick and aged. An independence from commercial distributors does not eliminate the need for retail establishments. Not everyone can grow. But for those who can, keeping a garden fortifies the hope for an independent existence while ensuring the safety and edibility of that which is gleaned therein.

(c) Cultivation, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, packaging, distributing, transferring, displaying or possessing Cannabis, Cannabis accessories, and Cannabis products for commercial purposes, provided the person has current applicable licensing to operate a commercial establishment. No special licensing will be required beyond that which is applicable for the cultivating, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, transferal, display or possession of any non-toxic Cannabis food or food product.
Commercial cultivation, manufacturing and distribution – by all means – but not like the nonsensical circus that we have seen spreading across our country. With each year, more states are touting that their Cannabis program spells “legal” access to Cannabis for their state’s consumers.  But how far have they stretched the truth with their use of the word “legal”?  Freedom will only come with LESS regulation, not more.  State law based in ignorance can ONLY be harmful.

However, one thing we can be assured, without the constraints of draconian regulation, this vast industry will revitalize our nation.

(d) Providing Cannabis, Cannabis accessories, and Cannabis products for sale to consumers.

(e) Leasing or otherwise allowing the use of property owned, occupied or controlled by any person, corporation or other entity for any of the activities conducted lawfully in accordance with paragraphs (a) through (d) of this subsection.

(f) No one shall be denied housing solely based on their use of Cannabis.
Bigotry will persist even after REAL legalization is the norm nationwide. Putting in writing what is permissible would not be necessary in a world where common sense and protection of basic rights were the understood interpretation of law.  Unfortunately, that is not the case here. In Colorado, the majority of citizenry do not own their home. Consequently, the majority of renters face leases designed around a Federal model.  This more often than not prohibits use of Cannabis within the home, and in many cases, doesn’t even permit possession.

(g) No one shall be denied employment solely based on their use of Cannabis.
I understand that the amount and frequency that any given citizen might consume Cannabis will vary considerably, and recreational use might be restricted by an employer to facilitate productivity. Common sense in the workplace should be understood.  I most certainly do. I was a power plant welder, by trade – few more dangerous professions. But we must look to the rights of the least if we truly represent all.  Knowing just how seriously important Cannabis concentrate is to someone suffering from, say cancer, depriving them of Cannabis therapy could very easily be life-threatening, or at the very least, be the difference between continued employment and financial survival for one struggling with chronic illness, or the alternative – complete ruin and disability. I’ve been there, too.

(h) The use and/or possession of Cannabis shall in no way impede one’s legal right to possess a firearm.
I added this line only after reviewing Oklahoma’s troubled medical Cannabis policy that originated with “State Question No.788“.  This was an important issue that had previously avoided my attention.  Thank you, Oklahoma, I’m on it!
The right to bear arms has absolutely NOTHING to do with Cannabis and can only reflect law enforcement’s arbitrary insistence to portray Cannabis as a “harmful dangerous drug”.  It implies that violence is ALWAYS associated with the use of Cannabis, and so penalties increase automatically when Cannabis and firearms are found together. Not only is this unjustified, it’s completely absurd, particularly in an environment where Cannabis is truly legal – as would be the case once this initiative passes.

Prohibition creates a black-market, no matter how deep into a police state we might fall. Violence is a tool of both opposing sides that first devours the innocent, then one another.

[Medical]
4. Medical Cannabis shall be available to patients without taxation who have a physician’s recommendation for its use.
The ONLY reason for a “physician’s recommendation”. Those who battle chronic and terminal illness are more often than not, financially strapped with the many expenses involved with their plight.  I have witnessed countless families in financial ruin following the illness of a single family member. Removing the burden of taxation is a very small thing toward easing the suffering, but it’s a start.

(a) All patients engaged in Cannabis therapy shall be afforded the same rights and privileges afforded to any patient treated through conventional therapeutic means, whether or not under the care of a physician.
Healing should be judged by it’s result, not the egotistical bigotries of those who profit in treatments, rather than healings.

(b) Licensed physicians shall not be penalized for, nor restricted from recommending and/or providing Cannabis for medical purposes to any person under their care.
Healing should not be restricted to doling out poisons.  For all too long, the hands of physicians have been tied by the pharmaceutical industry in regard to holistic therapies.  It’s time our “healers” were actually given permission to practice their trade.

(c) Veterinarians shall not be penalized nor restricted from recommending and/or providing Cannabis for medical purposes for any creature under their care.
ALL mammals, even some invertebrates have an Endocannabinoid system. This means that dosing our pets is little different than dosing a human child.  As those who researched Cannabis have found, it is really a question of body weight.  Whether mouse or elephant, we have a structured means to dose properly. It doesn’t require a degree, just a basic understanding of the proper ways to dose.

(d) Any individual who is a Cannabis patient in another state shall be granted the same rights and privileges as a legal [given state] Cannabis patient.
This is very basic human rights. Borders DO NOT determine whether or not one suffers from illness…so to, they should not determine whether or not one has access to treatment. Laws are SUPPOSED to be for our benefit.

(e) Medical care, including organ transplants, shall not be restricted in any way based on a person’s use of Cannabis.
One would think this would be a given.  Unfortunately, there are prideful bigots who would prefer that we die rather than allow any of us to appreciate the healing that Cannabis can bring – even if that means death.  It’s called “cognitive dissidence” and it operates in full for force in every state house throughout this nation.  In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they hold fast to their twisted and antiquated beliefs and impose them on others. There is only one thing that can prevail against it. Truth.

[Zoning]
5. Cannabis farmers, manufacturers, processors, and distributors shall not be subject to any special zoning requirement, licensing fee that is excessive, discriminatory, prohibitive, or in any way contrary to that which is relative to any other commercial or agricultural farmer, manufacturer, processor or distributor.
In EVERY state that has adopted Cannabis policy, bigotry has rung true, most particularly in regard to the very Cannabis law drafted to provide legal access.  Laws that restrict Cannabis specifically, and those who write them, must be dealt with for what they are. Bigotry should have no place in state law.

[Law Enforcement and the Courts]
6. [Given state]’s law enforcement and its courts shall protect Cannabis users and their property without discrimination, and with every bit the effort afforded to every citizen of [given state] and our nation.
Across this country, law enforcement has aggressively and defiantly regarded all forms of Cannabis, medical and otherwise, as “contraband”, often in opposition to the laws they had sworn to uphold.  The insistence of so called “Cannabis activists” and law makers to restrict Cannabis to their state’s Controlled Substance List (CSL), has only endorsed their persecutive behavior and falsely justified Civil Forfeiture actions on the innocent.

(a) The use and/or possession of Cannabis shall not be grounds for issuing a “Driving under the influence” (DUI) stop, charge, arrest or fine(s) when operating or as a passenger of a motor vehicle. Stops, charges, fines and arrests shall be the product of visible and/or previously proven non-Cannabis infractions of [given state] law.
Law makers have criticized me for this line, stating that this allows citizens to openly “smoke pot while driving”.  This line does not imply that.  Seriously, there is no excuse for lazy or corrupt police work. Their criticism points directly to one of the biggest problems with police departments in general.  They see us, Cannabis users, indiscriminately as law breakers, rather than the citizenry they are sworn to protect.
Law enforcement are SUPPOSED to protect the public, not prey on them.  For all too long, Cannabis has been used as a tool for profiling. It’s time that police stops, fines and arrests are in response to actual infractions of the law. I would hope that the good cops, the majority, would agree.

(b) No [given state] law enforcement personnel or state funds shall be used to assist or aid in the enforcement of federal Cannabis laws involving acts which are no longer illegal in the State of [given state] under this amendment.
Politics and belligerent divisiveness should never be given credence over truth and justice.  According to Thomas Jefferson, “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”  How much more would be expected of those sworn to protect us, particularly in regard to Federal law that infringes on the rights of our state’s citizenry?

(c) Civil asset Forfeiture shall no longer be used in the state of [given state] through association with Cannabis, Cannabis cultivation, it’s use and/or possession, in any way.
Civil Forfeiture has been used to glean the lion’s share of the thirteen billion dollars seized every year by police agencies across this country.  It’s no longer about justice, but rather profit.  Our law enforcement, through their greed, have been reduced to nothing more than legal armed robbers.  For those who might think that sounds extreme, may I recommend viewing HBO’s John Oliver as he reports on this “legal crime”? – Civil Forfeiture: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

(d) Upon the passage of this Act, all persons incarcerated or under supervision of the [given state] Board of Probation and Parole for non-violent, Cannabis-only offenses, which are no longer illegal in the State of [given state] under this Act, shall be immediately released.
This is perhaps the single most plagiarized line from my previous initiatives…and I couldn’t be happier!  It is unfortunate that so many have clouded this directive with unnecessary and crippling bureaucracy.

(e) Within 60 days of the passage of this Act, a legal document shall be developed and made available to the public ordering the immediate destruction of all Cannabis-related non-violent civil and criminal records in [given state] and for any offense covered by this amendment which is no longer illegal in the State of Missouri under this Act. This document shall be distributed to all pertinent parties throughout the state.
American courts do not forgive past transgressions, even after a law breaker has endured the harshest of sentences.  Felons bear their moniker for life (I repeat… FOR LIFE!) – and suffer indignities and unconscionable sanctions throughout their days.  This should not be the fate of those whose only crime is the possession and/or consumption of a non toxic plant.

(f) Within 60 days, Missouri’s Courts shall order the immediate expungement of civil and criminal records pertaining to all non-violent Cannabis only offenses which are no longer illegal in the State of Missouri under this Act.
If we don’t specify a time limit, it will never be accomplished. We need to be prepared for lawsuits by law enforcement unions that will attempt to stall our legal right to free those so unjustly persecuted.

[Regarding Federal Law]

7. Pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the people of [given state] hereby repudiate and challenge federal Cannabis prohibitions that conflict with this Act.
If one were to actually buy-in to the fascist threats from the corrupt within the Executive Branch of our Federal Government, one might feel swayed to forget that law begins with the states.  There is NO Federal Government without the PEOPLE.  More than occasionally, they need to be reminded of this fact.

[Existing Local, State and Federal Law]
8. All provisions of this section shall supersede conflicting city, county, state or federal statutory, local charter, ordinance, or resolution.
There is no “bow-out” when it comes to justice.  There are no conditions on truth.  Bigotry cannot be allowed to be an exception to our civil rights.

[Implementation]
9. The dictates of this Initiative, unless otherwise indicated by this initiative, shall be implemented no later than January 31st, 2021.
More than sufficient time to implement all the directives imposed by this initiative.

* * * * * * * *

In summary:

This is what I can do. With your help, we can make it a reality.

My purpose in this series of initiatives is to once and for all end Cannabis prohibition.  We have the right to do so, despite the words of divisive activists and corrupt lawmakers.  A terrible harm has been perpetrated upon our world. Realizing it and committing to “some day” address it is far from adequate. If not now, when? For the sake of those who will come after us, we are compelled to act to end the persecution – in our lifetime.

Whenever I discuss REAL legalization publicly, I often hear someone express concern about children.  If you have read through each of my nine points, you have probably realized that there is no age limit. The reason that there isn’t would be obvious to those who have read most anything that I have written. “Cannabis is food.”

But, let’s talk about this:

What about our children?
It has been expressed to me that, with REAL legalization, “… an eight year old could walk into a store and buy a ‘bag of weed’”.

That got me to thinking.

So I headed down to the local Dollar Store to take a look around.  What I found was not unlike every department store, grocery store and convenience mart I have ever been in – anywhere in the nation.  I particularly examined merchandise that was at an average eight year old’s height.  There, within easy grasp,  were cold medicines, birth control, pain remedies… and at the end of the aisle, bleach.  Around the corner, mice and rat poison – all within a couple of feet or so of the floor.  A child would not even have to leave the store to become contaminated – to be poisoned.
After a careful review of virtually every food item, it was easy to surmise that cannabis would be one of the safest things for an eight year old to touch, or handle – or even ingest.
I have worked with terminally ill children as young as eight months. I think I’ve earned the right to say that.

Science has proven overwhelmingly that cannabis is non-toxic and does not cause brain damage but actually instills neuroprotection. And that, unlike pharmaceuticals and alcohol, is actually good for your body and brain. So really, what this discussion has to do with isn’t toxicity at all, but apparently, euphoria.   So, the powers-that-be and the national cannabis advocacy organizations that have criticized my past efforts to bring REAL legalization, though they profess concern for children’s safety, in reality are preoccupied with euphoria – “the high”… even more so, apparently, than exposure to actual poisons.
With so many dangerous over-the-counter and prescription drugs readily accessible to children, why would these who profess concern focus only on a nontoxic substance?  After all, a number of foods can generate temporary euphoria.

Well, no matter. My answer to those concerned about children’s access can really be found in understanding the question “Why, with so many toxins within easy reach…why are not more of our children poisoned?”  I know of very few cleanser and medicine cabinets across this country that bear a padlock.

Two simple phrases:

Parental Guidance”              …when you’re a child, and

Personal Accountability”    …when you are grown.

Or as the Bible states, and I paraphrase, “Train up your child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Personally, I think parents, at least those who take this responsibility seriously, are doing a really fine job – without the intercession of law enforcement and the courts. Most children obey their parents. But then, parents who truly love their children instill in them the tenets for a safe and happy life. One would think.

Now, particularly in regard to “the high”, if you have personal and/or religious feelings against the experience of euphoria, and feel strongly against your child experiencing it, it’s YOUR job as a parent to instruct them so.  It is not the job of law enforcement or the court system to enforce personal beliefs, particularly when in-so-doing, you deny another of their God given right to life.
When we restrict access to foods, particularly ones so high in nutrition and therapeutic benefit, we impose unnecessary, even lethal hardships on our most vulnerable.  Realizing the tremendous benefit Cannabis can provide to humanity, to require only that we raise our children appropriately really isn’t that much to ask.

For decades, those who have written Cannabis policy have sought to ease state law by conceding personal freedoms in return for leniencies.  But their concessions only “muddied the water”, band-aids on bad policy, confusing both law makers, law enforcement… and citizens alike. Over the last decade, we have witnessed the effects of poorly written policy as arrests have only increased, while accessibility to this life-preserving medicine for the sick, not to mention, the poor, has stymied, and even regressed.  How can one bargain when the fate and human rights of so many are on the table?

It is time that we turn the page on Cannabis prohibition and begin anew, the healing of our people and our land… that which has been denied of both. We are the generation to accomplish this. The time is now.

 

Mark Pedersen
markpedersen.cpn@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply