In honor of July 4th, we would like to share a story to celebrate cannabis legalization and freedom in America. On this day 242 years ago, our founding Mothers and Fathers stood up against tyranny and oppression and declared our independence as a sovereign nation. In the days of our forefathers (and foremothers) the plant that we now work so hard to legalize was commonplace. Hemp cultivation began in Jamestown, Virginia in 1616 and its fiber was used to make clothing, sails, and rope. Early American landowners were jailed if they refused to grow hemp as American society knew how important this crop was for their livelihood. Many of our country’s presidents grew the crop as well including George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and the list goes on. Early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. Prior to the civil war, cannabis was added to the U.S. Pharmacopeia and was sold over the counter in a variety of medicinal preparations. Cannabis was a common part of American life until prohibition started in 1906 with the introduction of the Pure Food and Drug Act.
Today we reflect on the efforts of thousands of people who have worked so hard to bring legal medical cannabis to 31 U.S. states and responsible adult-use to 8 states and the District of Columbia. Medical cannabis markets across the U.S. now serve over 2 million patients. People with multiple sclerosis, migraines, epilepsy, cancer, fibromyalgia, arthritis and chronic pain have all benefited in some way from using cannabis. Research is currently underway around the world to discover more medicinal uses for cannabis, though in the U.S. this research is severely limited due to the fact that cannabis is still federally illegal. While these changes are revolutionary there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done and the movement for federal marijuana legalization and the cannabis industry needs your help. Look to our Canadian neighbors who legalized cannabis for medicinal use nationally 17 years ago and this year they legalized marijuana for adult-use with the first legal sales slated for October 17, 2018.
Just last week our Federal Government allowed the FDA to approve the first cannabis-based drug while still implementing IRC 280E taxation, effectively penalizing state legal operators for providing patients and consumers safe and effective products they desire and deserve. These forms of legal oppression evoke the stories of the individuals that founded this country as they rebelled against taxation without representation.
We used the hemp plant to make the ropes and the very sails that allowed our country’s founders to flee oppression yet then we criminalized it and oppressed minority communities for decades under prohibition. As we work for legalization of cannabis we must be sure not to leave our brothers and sisters behind who are still incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis crimes and fight for social equity laws to repair the harm caused by the War on Drugs.
Now more than ever is the time for us to stand up for what we know to be right. In honor of the rebellious leaders who brought us independence, we must strive for the legalization of cannabis and social equity in all fifty of our great states.
The ship has sailed and it’s only a matter of time before we find safe harbor. All great movements start with a seed and 3C aims to continue to help guide, grow and plant the seeds of safe access to medicine, cannabis legalization, and responsible regulation. We must follow the advice of George Washington and “make the most of hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”
Just remember today isn’t just a day for beer and BBQs it a day to reflect and honor how far we’ve come as a country yet how much more we need to do. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” If we work together and keep pushing for legalization the day will not be far off that we can all sit down and share a beer or a joint responsibly on this independence day and enjoy this great country.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it Jeff Sessions, or not, just don’t prevent others from their own life liberty and pursuits of happiness. Let’s celebrate cannabis legalization today and enjoy our freedom!