Crazy S**t I heard at the hearing of the Judiciary Committee at the State House on 3/7/16

NIC is dedicated to creating, understanding, protecting, and the sharing of information; and developing a community of educated citizens that can apply their knowledge to the reemerging cannabis environment.

Massachusetts has ballot initiative process and the voters will have the opportunity to approve Regulated Adult Use of cannabis in the Commonwealth in November. The process includes the measure being given a bill number and a hearing of the Judiciary Committee where constituents in favor and against can testify. There are several issues that are heard on any given hearing, so cannabis regulation, opiate amnesty in police stations and an alimony bill were the most popular issues on Monday, March 7th.

I went as a representative of the Institute, my testimony was focused on the industry’s educational needs and employment training. I was the second to last person to testify, oddly enough right before the representative from the Commonwealth Dispensary Association. I arrived just before the hearing opened, I could have left, gone to get lunch, taken a break, but after a few people spoke against the H.3932 I decided I should stay and see what other arguments people were going to come up with. I picked a few to share with you all, and debunk.

 

All addicts started with marijuana and it ruins lives.

 

Well, that is just silly, all addicts started with breastmilk or formula. This is the gateway theory, if you smoke pot you have to look for the next level high when cannabis is no longer fun. One woman spoke about her son, he lost his way, ended up in jail, in and out of rehab, and at times, homeless. This is, without a doubt, a sad story. She never mentioned if he had ever had a beer or cocktail before he used cannabis, but I am sure that is not what matters, because cannabis is the problem, it was the first illegal drug he tried. Logic dictates we must also blame and eliminate cars because of car accident deaths and we should ban water so that people don’t drown. This person testifies that cannabis triggers the reward center of the brain, training youths to exclusively seek pleasure. Well, sugar targets the same part of the brain as cocaine, but we give children chocolate and candies as part of our culture.

 

Cannabis a) lowers your IQ and b) slows the brain, effectively making it impossible for people who use cannabis to graduate from college.

 

This is so very easily debunked by the fact that MOST college students try cannabis and MANY use it throughout their college careers and AFTER graduation. I am proof that this cannot be true. I used cannabis throughout my time in college, I co-founded the Emerson College SSDP chapter (now, Emerson Reform), and completed all the necessary programs to be awarded my Bachelors of Science in Marketing and Communication. It really wasn’t even that hard. Funny enough, SEVERAL people I know also managed to get through school and into wonderful and fulfilling careers while using cannabis in a responsible manner. 

 

Federal banking issues force the industry to use cash far credit and debit services, there for all the cannabis business will be easy to rob and should not be allowed to open.

 

That would dictate that any business that accepts large sums of cash is a danger to society. I hope you can see how that is in no way a valid argument. When I had previously worked in the luxury retail industry we regularly had to make cash deposits some times as much as $30,000.00. In fact, the cash would be put into an envelope, into a purse or shoulder bag and walked across the street to the nearest bank. But the testifier here argues that because cannabis businesses will deal almost exclusively in cash than it must be dangerous. We should immediately stop any high-end or luxury industry from using cash, and any large box stores from using cash, there must be several thousands of dollars running through Target on any given day, sounds dangerous.

 

The ratio of criminals who are alleged a crime that has nothing to do with cannabis initially, always end up with charges that relate to cannabis.

 

Essentially, often when someone is found to have taken part in a crime there is a high likelihood that cannabis can be found on or in the person or in their near vicinity, making the obvious distinction that the person committed a crime because cannabis was around. Well, I bet there was also a bathtub in the house when it was raided or gasoline (a flammable substance) in the car when the driver was pulled over. When you have about half the American population trying cannabis mostly from the black market, how can you expect to not find it where you find a criminal? The crime is that cannabis is not yet legal. There is no customer protection from contaminants. That is because the law doesn’t allow scientists and doctors to do the necessary research to determine what are safe levels for consumption. How about being able to purchase cannabis in a well-lit public space at the convenience of the shopper during normal business house, that would be consumer protection. Or, being able to complain or return a product if it isn’t what the consumer is looking for. Consumer protection comes in many forms, including making sure that the product is good and safe.

 

These are just a few of the furious notes I was writing during the hearing. I urge everyone to get educated on this topic. We will pass this Initiative in November if the legislature won’t take the necessary actions. One comment that particular ground my gears was when one of the committee members announced that he will advise his constituents to vote against legalization. When I finally had my chance to testify I reminded him that he works for the constituents and not the other way around. It is a true shame that we have a legislature who refuse to act on the obvious will of the people. Before going to the voting booth next time, check the voting records of the options that the ballot gives you.