Cannabis / Marijuana, EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
NORML Canada's Craig Jones on Cannabis – History, Legalization, Regulation and the Public Health Model
By Anthony Wile - May 04, 2014

Introduction: Craig Jones holds a PhD in political economy from Queen's University. Before coming to NORML Canada, he was Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Canada and before that he was a policy analyst in the faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's University in Kingston. He has been publishing, teaching and lecturing on drug and criminal justice policy since the late 1990s. He lives in Kingston with his travel-writer wife (Jo Matyas) and their Border Collie, Rigby. When not geeking out on policy, he plays and sings jazz, rock and folk music in various venues around eastern Ontario.

Anthony Wile: Give us some general background on the history of NORML Canada and its mandate.

Craig Jones: NORML Canada dates back to the mid-1970s when – post-Le Dain Commission Report – it became clear that grass-roots action was going to be necessary to push the public conversation toward evidence-informed discussion of the harms vs. benefits of cannabis prohibition. NORML Canada does not endorse the greater use of cannabis in any form, nor does it endorse the reduced use of cannabis: NORML Canada endorses the finding of the 2002 Senate report (co-chaired by Senator Claude Nolin) that "the continued prohibition of cannabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than does the substance itself." NORML Canada's mandate is to bring about a modernized cannabis regime grounded in public health, liberty and human rights principles.

Anthony Wile: What motivated you personally to get involved and led to your position as executive director of the Canadian organization?

Craig Jones: I hold a PhD in political economy and call myself a democratic socialist (note the order of those words). The more I learned – in the 1980s – about the incentive structures baked into drug prohibition, the more I came to realize that only two social groups BENEFIT from prohibition: organized crime and organized repression (also known as the police). If you are committed to the survivability of democracy – particularly liberal democracy, as I am – you cannot sit back and passively permit the growth of the power and influence of these two most undemocratic social forces. Then, when you look around, you realize that these two forces are the most destructive social forces irrespective of the social formation (liberal, fascist, communist, authoritarian, etc.) in human history. Sorry to go all "political science" on you, but it's really important to understand how destructive prohibition has been and continues to be.

When I learned that NORML was looking for an ED, I offered my experience and knowledge. I have been publishing, speaking and lecturing about the harms of drug prohibition since the late 1980s, so I was a known quantity. I became ED in January 2014.

Anthony Wile: Marijuana has a very complicated history – at times culturally celebrated for its medicinal and social benefits while at others yielding years of incarceration or even death for users – and sometimes both extremes coexist in the same region at the same time (think USA!). What is it about this plant that creates such extreme viewpoints?

Craig Jones: You cannot understand the political and cultural history of cannabis without understanding racism in North America. For thousands of years cannabis was a cherished natural product yielding multiple applications – fibre, oil, food, cloth, etc. – including therapies for various kinds of disabilities and pain. Then, in the early part of the 20th Century, cannabis came to be associated with Mexican labourers undercutting the wages of white-American workers in the Deep South. About the same time, it came to be associated with black jazz musicians across the lower 48. These two minorities – blacks and Mexicans – were heavily stigmatized by mainstream American political and cultural establishments. When alcohol prohibition was abolished by the 19th Amendment, the apparatus of the prohibition establishment took up cannabis, opium and all other "illicit" drugs. In political science terms, it was a solution in search of a problem: large bureaucratic organizations seldom go out of business. They find other justifications for their budgets and institutional purpose. Then, when Nixon formulated his "Southern Strategy" – which included his 'war on drugs' – he told his advisors that the idea was to mobilize the "Silent Majority's" animosity toward blacks without making it appear as if blacks were the key to the strategy. Since blacks were already associated – in the public mind – with cannabis, it was easi(er) for the prohibition apparatus to target blacks.

The same is true, with slight modifications, in Canada. Emily Murphy ginned up a moral panic over cannabis in The Black Candle (1922). Like other moral entrepreneurs of the early 20th century, she worried about the "mongrelization" of the "bright-browed races" through race-pollution by Chinese and black persons on the North American continent.

So you really have to know the history of racism to understand the story of cannabis on this continent.

Anthony Wile: Before we address particular issues related to the legalization of marijuana, let's examine the relationship between marijuana and hemp because the relationship between the two may have more to do with the prohibition of marijuana than most people are aware. What is the difference between marijuana and hemp?

Craig Jones: Hemp is the cannabis plant with very little of the psychoactive component, THC. It is highly valued for fibre, oil, paper and numerous other products. The prohibition of hemp – as an industrial product – is collateral damage of the prohibition of cannabis as a psychoactive product.

Anthony Wile: What role has hemp played in civilization's development over the centuries? What is it used for?

Craig Jones: Just about everything. Henry Ford made car bodies out of hemp. It is a very efficient form of paper on which the United States Constitution is written. The British Navy controlled the world's sea-lanes with sails and ropes made of hemp. Napoleon invaded Russia to capture their hemp production for his own sailing ships. It is an incredibly strong and durable fibrous product with multiple applications.

Anthony Wile: How about in the United States itself? Has hemp ever been of importance?

Craig Jones: American farmers were REQUIRED to grow hemp during World War I and again during World War II.

Anthony Wile: What about marijuana – what role has it played medicinally and recreationally over the centuries?

Craig Jones: The first recorded mention of cannabis as therapy is 2000 years before the common era (BCE) in the pharmacopeia of Chinese medicine. In the ancient Near East, it was ground into a paste with honey and inserted vaginally to ease the pain of childbirth. Caesar's physician used the oil from seeds to alleviate earaches. Queen Victoria's physician prescribed it for menstrual cramps. It's ironic to contemplate that 100 years ago cannabis tinctures were widely used and doctors knew all about it and how it worked for various conditions. One hundred years later, doctors know almost nothing (though this is changing with the assistance of Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the United States).

Recreationally, it first came to elite attention because jazz musicians – mostly black – used cannabis to enhance their experience of performing. You can read congressional testimony by medical doctors from the early 20th century explaining how jazz musicians believed that cannabis elongated their experience of time permitting them to insert "unauthorized" notes between those that appeared on the staff. It's quite funny, actually, speaking as a jazz musician myself: These black jazz players were – so to speak – playing fast and loose with the conventions of European music by adding their own notes into the melodies written by the composers. They were, in a sense, offending the elite artistic establishment. Then, too, cannabis was thought to make black men sexually irresistible to white women, so we're back to the race pollution thing: This time the offenders are not only black (bad enough) but offending against the established forms of Western harmony and melody to create what was called, disparagingly, "jungle music."

Anthony Wile: When examining the history of prohibition against marijuana in the United States, which effectively began in 1937 after a Blitzkrieg of media propaganda that included the release of "Reefer Madness" in 1936, there was an obvious collusion between large industrial, banking and media interests to vilify marijuana and by extension hemp. Why and for whose benefit?

Craig Jones: William Randolph Hearst controlled huge forestry interests and sought the suppression of hemp for paper production. DuPont Chemicals saw hemp as a competitor to their nylon products. But these were eclipsed by the racist considerations, in my opinion.

Anthony Wile: Around the same time, Canada implemented its own prohibition against marijuana as government officials returned from League of Nations meetings where international control of the plant was contemplated. What role has the United Nations played in the prohibition of marijuana?

Craig Jones: Of greater consequence than the UN has been the influence of US domestic policy: The United Nations drug control regime has operated as little more than an arm of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the White House. But yes, Canada had a hand in the global suppression of cannabis – largely through the work of William Lyon McKenzie King.

Anthony Wile: Okay, moving on then. Does prohibition ever work?

Craig Jones: Sure! It works for organized crime and organized repression and the ancillary industries that support these: guns, banking, security services, prisons, lawyers, etc. It grows their budgets, power and political influence. There are three social forces – or factors – that most powerfully resist policy change: drug traffickers who benefit from high prices, international banking, which launders drug profits, and international policing, which gains resources and influence from the "war on drugs."

Anthony Wile: Should marijuana be legal for recreational use by adults?

Craig Jones: Yes, legal and regulated according to public health principles adapted from alcohol and tobacco regulation. We don't need to re-invent the wheel. We know "what works" with the regulation of psychotropic substances from a public health standpoint.

Anthony Wile: Should adults be able to grow their own marijuana?

Craig Jones: Yes, but not in circumstances – or in quantities – that endanger property or other people.

Anthony Wile: Are you encouraged with the recent progress of marijuana decriminalization and legalization in Canada?

Craig Jones: No. The Harper regime is as committed to prohibition as any government in our history. It only provides a source of medicinal cannabis because the Supreme Court of Canada requires it to.

I am, however, encouraged by the pace and direction of change in the United States, which opens a window for Canadian policy makers to do the right thing. For decades, Canadian policy makers have pleaded that they could not do the right thing because the US would retaliate – and they were probably right – so the recent legalization in Colorado and imminent legalization in Washington State creates a window of opportunity for Canadian policy makers. But first we have to change Canada's federal government.

Anthony Wile: Is marijuana going to end up as an entirely "free" substance or will it be highly regulated and government controlled via licensing processes?

Craig Jones: Too soon to know. The problem with cannabis is that per hour of intoxication it is the cheapest substance known to humankind. This is good for casual and medicinal users but maybe not so good for industrial producers. My preference would be that Canadians import the best learnings from tobacco and alcohol regulation and apply these to cannabis re-regulation. The other fact about cannabis is that it is a beautiful plant and gardeners – even those who don't use it – LOVE to grow beautiful plants. So it's quite reasonable to expect that many people will want to grow it simply because it's such a lovely addition to one's garden.

Anthony Wile: Is there any downside to the process? Is marijuana apt to be abused if it is legalized?

Craig Jones: Some people will abuse cannabis irrespective of its legal status. They already are. Whether we will see a spike in abuse is currently unknowable. My hunch is that we won't since the chances of getting caught today are so small relative to the wide availability and low cost of high quality cannabis.

We're all watching Colorado very closely.

The downside that I am most concerned about – in a re-regulated regime – is that some producer will seek to "enhance" their product through the addition of something like nicotine to make it as addictive as tobacco. All drugs – including cannabis – produce harm primarily according to dosage. That's why liquor is more harmful – per dose per user – than beer. That's why a person who smokes two packs a day is more likely to develop cancer than someone who smokes two cigarettes per day. Obviously, if smokers only consumed two cigarettes a day tobacco would be a much less profitable business. As a rule, I would prefer to have as little "profit motive" driving a re-regulated cannabis regime as possible because the drive for profits will encourage innovation of a kind that undermines public health objectives. I think public health objectives need to be balanced with liberty objectives – I'm a democratic socialist after all – but the profit motive is often at odds with evidence-based public health objectives.

Anthony Wile: Let's debunk some of the common myths about marijuana … first, the argument that by legalizing marijuana children will have greater access to it. What say you?

Craig Jones: It's hard to imagine how – under any future regime – children could have greater access than they have now. Under the status quo, there is no gatekeeper as there is for tobacco and alcohol. My preferred future regime would include a gatekeeper governed by public health principles adapted from tobacco and alcohol.

Anthony Wile: How about the "gateway drug" argument that says users of marijuana are likely to find their way to harder drugs such as cocaine and heroine?

Craig Jones: In political science this is called a "zombie argument." Though intellectually dead for lack of supporting evidence, it's still walking around because it's still useful to certain political and social interests. In the addictions literature, the single most powerful "gateway drug" is tobacco. Cannabis is no more reliable a gateway to heroin than tricycles are to motorcycles.

Anthony Wile: Some people argue that marijuana use leads to laziness and a general withdrawal from society. Fact or fiction?

Craig Jones: It is true for some people, while others go on to become president of the United States. There is no clear answer in the literature because any given individual is a product of numerous personal, social and genetic forces no one of which determines the course of their life. The fact is that "nature loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger," which is to say that we just don't know for any given individual. Most people who use cannabis quit at some point – for any number of reasons – or reduce their consumption to very moderate levels. Some may be self-medicating for ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression or any number of other conditions. Some may function rather well on a daily low dose. The literature does not provide much guidance on amotivational syndrome. One interesting question is whether – if cannabis did not exist – these same people would be using alcohol instead. There is evidence, some of it very old, that alcohol is the more harmful choice on a per dose per person basis. There is also some early evidence that cannabis substitutes for alcohol and may therefore cause less harm in the aggregate. But this is early evidence and, at this stage, far from conclusive.

The more important (to my mind) question is this: Does (even excessive) cannabis use warrant a criminal record and the continuous engorgement of organized crime? I say no.

Anthony Wile: Marijuana use causes multiple personality and other psychiatric disorders. True?

Craig Jones: False. But for sure persons with a family history of – or a pre-existing vulnerability to – personality and psychiatric disorders should avoid cannabis, and alcohol and tobacco, as these are all fuel to the fire. There is little doubt, in the literature, that persons so predisposed to mental illness often see their symptoms worsen with cannabis use – and this is true of all other drugs, too. Again, however, it's a dose-dependent relationship. Some drugs produce much higher levels of harm per dose than others. The causal connection between cannabis and mental illness is not supported by the literature, but the potential of cannabis (and other drugs) to exacerbate pre-existing mental illness is well supported.

Anthony Wile: We believe the Internet is exposing many of the myths surrounding the hysteria that has been generated to manipulate people into supporting prohibition of marijuana – a process we call the Internet Reformation. How much of an impact do you think the Internet Reformation is having on the changing sentiment for marijuana legalization?

Craig Jones: I think it's profound. But the Internet is just as effective for spreading misinformation and mythology, too. I'm a student of Marshall McLuhan where information technology is concerned: Every new technology reinforces the power of previous technology while simultaneously transforming our relationship to it.

Anthony Wile: Did you ever think it would move so fast – or has it seemed slow to you?

Craig Jones: Both.

Anthony Wile: Next month, from May 23rd to 25th, NORML Canada will be holding its first ever national conference on cannabis legalization, hosted by the CHAMPS Expo – also being held in Canada for the first time – where you'll also have a booth. Tell us about it and about some of the speakers you've lined up.

Craig Jones: The conference will feature panel discussions on all aspects of cannabis: from growing and cultivation, to the future of Canada's legal regime, to the state of the art in research on cannabis normalization, to the current status of various legal cases. Mykayla Comstock is expected to come in from the United States. She's a young, but very articulate, person who uses cannabis as therapy for her rare condition. I expect they'll be posting the final lineup at norml.ca by the time you publish this.

Anthony Wile: What are NORML Canada's priorities for the conference? What do supporters hope to achieve?

Craig Jones: NORML Canada aspires to be the "go to" organization on evidence-based, rational and reasonable information on and about cannabis in all its aspects. There is a strong desire to be the voice for intelligent cannabis policy, informed by public health evidence and governed by liberty and human rights considerations.

Anthony Wile: Your website, NORML.ca, states "The convention will feature panels and discussions on the reform of Canada's cannabis laws including strategy and the template for legalization, the state of medical marijuana laws, and cutting edge science of cannabis and cannabis law reform." Can you expand on these subjects? First, What is marijuana's "cutting science"? Is it mostly medical?

Craig Jones: At this stage, yes. But profoundly important for the treatment of some rare conditions that do not respond to existing therapies. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has done a CNN report on this, which is well worth watching.

Anthony Wile: Before we move into questions on legal reform, please give us a brief overview of current Canadian law on both medical marijuana and on recreational marijuana.

Craig Jones: Recreational use is a criminal code offense, though very unevenly enforced and even less frequently prosecuted as a stand-alone crime. Medical use is subject to an onerous and complex set of regulations under the strong disapproval of the Canadian Medical Protective Association – the body that legally protects doctors. The only reason Canada has a medical cannabis regime is that the Supreme Court requires the federal government to provide cannabis through Health Canada. Both Liberal and Conservative governments have done so reluctantly and with little enthusiasm. Generally, Canadian governments wish the whole issue would go away: They don't really want to prosecute but they don't want to be seen to be "soft on crime," either. Canadian governments are essentially boxed in by a racist policy they inherited from the 19th Century and a set of UN treaty obligations to which they are bound (true of most of Canada's illicit drug laws).

Anthony Wile: The current government has not been a friend of marijuana reform. In 2012, it legislated a mandatory minimum jail term of six months for growing as few as six plants, as well as a minimum two-year prison term for those caught trafficking near schools or areas frequented by youth (under the Safe Streets and Communities Act). Are attitudes changing do you think, among Conservative legislators?

Craig Jones: An unfortunate aspect of drug prohibition is that it compels otherwise intelligent and ethical legislators to lie in public. Even Conservative legislators acknowledge – when the microphones and cameras power down – that prohibition does not and cannot work, that the laws are harsh and draconian and more harmful than use of the drug. When you talk to these same people in private they admit that the laws are dysfunctional, but they are trapped by the imperatives of party discipline to repeat the talking points dictated to them by the Prime Minister's office (PMO). Conservatives – and Liberals, too – fear getting out in front of public opinion if there's any degree of political risk. Our media-political apparatus punishes risk takers and truth tellers, which creates an incentive to say what people already expect to hear. The current government has perfected this risk aversion on topics like this. They have created a smear machine of hitherto unimagined power and savagery to (a) reassure their 40% hardcore base and (b) cower their opposition. I don't expect these attitudes to change as long as Harper's PMO believes it can play the wedge politics of reefer madness with their base.

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Anthony Wile: What has been the most significant law reform to date, in your view?

Craig Jones: The complete decriminalization of every drug in Portugal (2001) and the subsequent upward spike in demand for treatment.

Anthony Wile: What is the template for legalization, as you see it?

Craig Jones: Delete Schedule II from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Turn the entire issue over to provincial authority to be regulated and managed by public health officials. Create a not-for-profit production and licensing scheme that recycles revenues into rehabilitation, research, prevention and harm reduction. Licenses to produce and vend should be hard to acquire and easy to lose. There would be no advertising and labeling will be generic. Storefronts should be governed by public health authorities at the municipal level. The entire regime should be governed by two imperatives: (a) undercut the black market price and (b) delay as much as possible initiation of use until the age of majority.

Anthony Wile: You've recently focused in some of your literature on "Top Proposed Changes for Possession Laws In Canada." Can you expand on the ticketing legislation that seems to be top-of-mind issue?

Craig Jones: There are mixed views on ticketing. Some people think it's another power grab by police managers – more tools in their toolbox, which tools they should surrender to the greater public good. Others feel like this is an acknowledgement by police managers that prosecution is excessive where no violence or public disorder is involved.

Anthony Wile: What is your feeling in regards to those who have been incarcerated as a result of Canada's drug laws or who have suffered legally from marijuana criminalization? Will NORML Canada campaign to overturn criminal liability for those who have been jailed or fined?

Craig Jones: These should be arbitrated on a case-by-case basis. Very few people in Canada go to jail just for cannabis offenses. Usually there are other considerations, too. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Where the offense is just cannabis possession, there should be some sealing of the criminal record or outright record suspension. We used to have pardons, but this government – with its preference for more punishment – abolished these.

Anthony Wile: Is it fair that those penalized suffer lifelong consequences for what may soon be a legal or decriminalized act?

Craig Jones: Obviously not. It never was.

Anthony Wile: Your literature mentions a recent "Great Victory in Federal Court." This has to do with personal medical marijuana growing. Can you tell us about this?

Craig Jones: The federal government, seeking to limit diversion from the medical to the recreational markets, sought to close down the regime which allowed individuals to grow for themselves or to grow for designated others. They required private growers to destroy their existing crops (by mixing with cat litter for some reason). But the substitute supply source was not – as of March 31 – able to meet the demand, and the cost of the substitute was going to be considerably higher, which imposed a section 7 hardship on medicinal users. The judge gave the government one year to get their shit together. Essentially, the government wants to limit personal growing so that all growing can fall into the hands of corporations – a move which violates the ethics of cannabis use for as long as cannabis has been around. The drug is inherently social. It is a delight to grow and harvest. It will be impossible – except at horrendous policy cost – to successfully suppress private growing of cannabis.

Anthony Wile: A trial is expected to be 9-12 months down the road. What do you think the outcome will be?

Craig Jones: Impossible to know. It will depend on whether federal lawyers are able to persuade a judge that the Charter of Rights should not matter where cannabis therapy is concerned. My sense is the judiciary is pushing back on this government's cavalier attitude toward the Charter of Rights.

Anthony Wile: Obviously, marijuana legalization is popular among many in Canada. There are entrepreneurial efforts underway throughout Canada on a number of fronts. Can you tell us about some of them?

Craig Jones: We're at early days on the multiple benefits to be derived from this plant and everyone knows this. Seeing dollars signs in the future, smart business people are lining up to cash in. I'm not the guy with the best knowledge of this aspect.

Anthony Wile: What is the future for those involved in the growing marijuana industry, in your opinion?

Craig Jones: Probably pretty good. My greatest fear for the future is that cannabis will follow the path cut by big tobacco – i.e., that some collection of companies will seek to GROW the use of cannabis, which is a logical thing for a business to want to do, and that we may confront a public health issue of an entirely different kind. NORML Canada does not endorse the greater use of cannabis, nor does it endorse the reduced use of cannabis. NORML Canada endorses the informed and voluntary use of cannabis without risk of criminal sanction by persons who have attained the age of majority in the jurisdiction in which they live. That said, we are at early days in our knowledge of cannabis therapeutics, so there is much work to be done here and much profit to be made from cannabis therapies that help people with chronic pain and other quality of life-degrading conditions.

Anthony Wile: Can such businesses not only make a go of it but also provide additional jobs at a time when Canada's industrial infrastructure is suffering?

Craig Jones: No doubt, but I'm really not the guy with this kind of expertise.

Anthony Wile: What are some areas within an expanding marijuana business that you find especially exciting?

Craig Jones: For six years I was a health policy analyst in the faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's University in Kingston. Part of my job consisted of educating GPs and MDs about cannabis. The holy grail of primary care medicine is a therapy for chronic non-malignant pain that patients can tolerate with minimal – or acceptable – side effects and minimal interactions with other drugs. I think cannabis is that therapy.

Anthony Wile: Do you believe the marijuana industry will eventually come to resemble spirits in the sense that there will be several "taxable" layers, such as the alcohol model of producer – distributor – retailer?

Craig Jones: Could do, but my preference would be for a model that encourages moderation in consumption and recycles revenues into treatment, rehabilitation for problematic users, research, harm reduction and prevention.

Anthony Wile: In a fully recreational marketplace, how do you foresee the consumer side of the industry developing? Will the product be distributed via currently licensed retail outlets for alcohol, pharmacies or dispensaries such as those found in Colorado?

Craig Jones: There are numerous models on offer, but I think this discussion should be informed by public health principles and the best lessons offered by alcohol and tobacco. We are talking about a psychotropic substance with potential for abuse and we do need to strike some balance between individual liberty considerations and the greater public good. We don't need to re-invent the wheel, but we do need to be extremely smart and thoughtful. A laissez-faire, wild-west kind of "let a thousand flowers bloom" approach would not – in my view – accord with public health principles. Prohibition has been a stupid mistake; we have to do better with re-regulation.

Anthony Wile: What are some other aspects of this growing industry – what can we look for?

Craig Jones: I would like to see the price come down to the point where cannabis can be used – as it once was – in transdermal applications for the alleviation of chronic pain.

Anthony Wile: Would you recommend that people get involved in the industry with an eye toward building a career?

Craig Jones: Sure.

Anthony Wile: How about from an investment standpoint? Are there opportunities to see an aggressive growth of capital from a successful startup?

Craig Jones: Probably, but I'm not the right guy to advise.

Anthony Wile: Can you summarize your perspective regarding marijuana not just in Canada but also around the world?

Craig Jones: Cannabis prohibition has been a catastrophically expensive error, an example of the worst of hubris to think we can socially engineer human appetites.

Anthony Wile: Is Canada uniquely placed to be a world leader when it comes to marijuana?

Craig Jones: We will have the advantage of late entry. And BC cannabis is widely acknowledged to be among the best in the world.

Anthony Wile: Any other points you want to mention, publications or websites you want to point to?

Craig Jones: Perhaps only for geeks like me, but the Report of the India Hemp Commission (1893/94) is an insightful read for people looking to explore the full range of cannabis's therapeutic and recreational potential.

Anthony Wile: Thanks for your time.

Craig Jones: Happy to oblige.

After Thoughts

Very interesting interview with Craig Jones and we thank him for contributing his time and considerable wisdom on issues concerning cannabis.

Since the interview is comprehensive and speaks for itself, we'll only comment on the issue regarding regulation and re-regulation. Mr. Jones obviously wants to strike a balance between use and abuse when it comes to cannabis. And he is looking to regulatory approaches to create it.

Regulation is a given in this day and age, and no doubt the re-legalization of marijuana will see a good deal of fairly intricate regulation being brought to bear on all aspects of the drug, from ingestion, to health care to business.

Our hope is that the process of regulation does not overwhelm the positives that will surely accrue from relaxation of the prohibition surrounding this useful and often healthful herb.

Too much licensing, too much policing, too many regulations generally and the entrepreneurial advantages – not to mention the remarkable opportunities to enhance health on a broad scale – that might accrue to society from the availability of cannabis could be diminished.

We do live in an era of regulation. Consider that cannabis was utilized not just 2,000 years ago; there's evidence of its use some 8,000 years ago. The plant, on the other hand, has only been illegal for about the past 40 years.

Just because something can be regulated doesn't mean it ought to be. Sometimes a "light touch" is best.

Posted in Cannabis / Marijuana, EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
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