February 04, 2018 | NORTHWEST LEAF
Why we should be treating Cannabis like alcohol. By Matthew Meyers.
As we enter deeper into 2018, it’s worth checking in with a topic that I covered almost a year ago: Is Cannabis being regulated similarly to alcohol like originally promised in Measure 91? I have to note that it’s hard to truly compare alcohol and Cannabis, because they are different substances, but since they are regulated by the same entity I think it’s a relevant comparison to make. The biggest difference between the two is: if you consume too much alcohol you will die. One in every 10 deaths of adults in the U.S. is attributed to consumption of alcohol, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Compared to Cannabis, where partakers have been trying to find the limit for thousands of years, and still nobody has overdosed. The juxtaposition of risk here is laughable; it’s a somewhat radical idea to believe in having Cannabis social clubs, but you can’t spit in Portland without hitting a licensed bar serving alcohol. We even serve and consume alcohol everywhere from breakfast spots to barber shops.
I know it’s uncomfortable to talk about how people will get home from these clubs, but my guess is it won’t be any different than bars (meaning a majority of people probably drive themselves.
Consumption is the biggest glaring difference between Cannabis and alcohol. There is no legal place for adults to consume Cannabis besides in a private residence or property that’s out of public view. As a society, we should always aim to be respectful of the others around us, so I understand some limitations of consumption of any drug in public. However, the more we try to hide Cannabis culture from the community, the harder it will be to shake the taboos of the past and allow the culture to evolve.
If we are worried about young people getting sucked into the culture too early, we need to stand up for our educational system and make sure it’s preparing kids to critically think and make their own decisions so they won’t be influenced by any substance. It’s easy to point the finger at Cannabis with a lot of these issues, but we live in a seriously complicated reality constantly modified by a variety of factors. Some of these factors, such as lack of sufficient education are extremely complicated issues, so it’s much easier for people just to blame Cannabis than dig down to the root of the problem.
I have to mention the need right now more than ever for our federal representatives to come together and pass a bill that simply protects legal state-run programs until a long-term law can be created. The elimination of the Cole Memo by Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled a rally cry to protect state Cannabis programs.
I believe we will see some sort of bi-partisan movement toward a federal solution. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on the governing party to make sure the economy grows as much as possible in 2018 for the mid-term elections.
With this pressure, it would be foolish to squash one of the few growing industries in this country that promotes jobs and products made in the U.S.
Representatives McClintock (R-California) and Polis (D-Colorado) have recently proposed a bill called “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” that would block spending by feds against state legal Cannabis programs. This isn’t the first time a bill like this has been introduced in the federal scene, but I think the time is right for it to gain some traction especially considering Sessions eliminated the Cole Memo so now everyone is forced to take a stand on the issue.
Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) will incorporate the bill will into the 2018 federal legislative session. Make sure to track the progress of this bill and take a couple minutes to call your representatives to make sure they are in support of this bill.
There is also HR1227 “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act” which I discussed several months ago along with several other proposed federal solutions. We still have representatives in Oregon that are on the fence about supporting Cannabis!
Not sure how your representative stands on this issue? Give them a call, they have staff waiting to help explain their position or take feedback from constituents. Make sure that your voice is heard, now is the time to stand up for a respectable future for Cannabis.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) declined to comment on the biggest differences between alcohol and Cannabis. Hopefully we will see more openness in the future about how we can bring equality to the way that the two drugs are regulated.
We have seen some movements toward Cannabis being regulated more like alcohol mostly on the dispensary side of things. The public is now allowed to see directly into a dispensary and walk in to see products more similarly to a liquor store or bar.
But I worry that critical decisions are being made by people who only see profit potential when they see Cannabis, especially in light of the appointment of alcohol distribution baron Matthew Maletis to OLCC’s board of commissioners.
The OLCC has public comment lines available on its website for feedback, let them know what you think is the first step to equalizing Cannabis regulations with alcohol.