What if we’re going about this all wrong?
What if we’re playing into the hands of the federal government and the medical marijuana model is a federally-authorized ruse to out the movers and shakers of the marijuana world?
Federal preemption is a reality that our movement seems to deny. The DEA and IRS have demonstrated that state-sanctioned MMJ laws are a thin veil of protection in the face of federal despotism. Pushing legislation through the states may grasp federal attention, but national legalization is still years out.
Let’s examine the current status of the cannabis movement. Oregon, Colorado and Washington are poised for adult legalization. Multiple states and counties are preparing to embrace the medical marijuana community. Federally, however, no meaningful progress has been made (there are some early bills in Congress and ASA taking DEA to court in Oct).
The DEA and IRS are seizing funds from dispensaries at will. Harborside, the most public and highly regarded access point, has become the federal whipping boy. Regardless of voter backing, regulation and healthy taxation, all state laws in favor of cannabis defer to the power of federal preemption.
State-level progress is the practice field for nation-wide change. We can demonstrate the harmless and peaceful nature of cannabis to local officials; it’s an easy sell. States have much less at stake and a considerable amount to gain by legalizing and taxing cannabis.
At the federal level, the criminalization of cannabis keeps federal programs in business. DEA’s livelihood in predicated on cannabis remaining Schedule I. The IRS has jumped into the fray, seizing funds and slapping tax bills on dispensaries at will. Why not? They have precedent (for now).