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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

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Arts + CulturePuff: The doctor done told me

Puff: The doctor done told me

Is the US federal government finally jumping onboard with cannabis? What does it all mean?

So US Surgeon General Jerome Adams finally said it. The most authoritative medical opinion in America stated that the government should rethink its stance on cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, especially as something that needed to be researched for its medicinal properties.

He also said that both health and criminal justice policies need to be re-examined in relation to cannabis drug classification. “Just as we need to look at criminal justice laws, rules and regulations, we need to look at health laws, rules and regulations, and that includes the scheduling system,” Adams said. ”One of the concerns that I have with marijuana is the difficulty that the folks have to do research on it, because of the scheduling system.”

Lay that alongside the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in Section 7415, which has a clause tucked inside calling for the removal of hemp from the Controlled Substance Act and a redefinition of how extracts, cannabinoids, and derivatives of CBD can be legal.

Well, it is about time. It sure gives one optimism, looking at the blank slate ahead that is the year 2019. Last year, Prop 60 kicked in for better or for worse and caused a big uproar in the cannabis community as small family labels and established brands ran around trying to get everything packaged, tested, and licensed with looming deadlines, all the while marketing and selling to excited new customers.

Schedule I drugs, substances, and chemicals — like marijuana — are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use. Furthermore, they are considered to have a very high potential for abuse. What are the other Schedule 1 drugs? Heroin, LSD, ecstasy, quaaludes, and peyote. Given its already proven medical value, it seems absurd that cannabis will stay in the category for much longer.

Ironically, some of the Schedule II drugs like hydrocodone, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl, Adderall, and Ritalin are all drugs that cannabinoid compounds could replace. The fact that the government thinks cannabis is more dangerous than meth is ludicrous.

As for its potential for abuse — well, you smoke too much, eat down the house, and fall asleep … a far cry from tripping out and jumping off a building thinking you can fly.

“Every cannabis user is a medical patient whether they know it or not,” said Dennis Peron, the father of medicinal cannabis.

That statement reads true to me. I just had never thought of it in that way before. In life, we are attracted to things that make us feel better in many different ways. Of all the drugs I tried in my youth — and I tried them all — the two that stuck with me were beer and pot. As I think back on it, pot mellowed me out, took away the stress. It could help me roll through a party or chill in front of the TV or the stereo all night. I was self-medicating all along. It just became a part of me, especially after moving to California and discovering the weed here.

Are all our endocannabinoid systems the same? Does cannabis just affect certain people like a long lost alien race, the Cannabanauts? Are we just pre-programmed to like it or not, or can it provide something for anybody depending on how it is used?

Well now the government can tell us!

This, of course, won’t happen overnight, but it is amazing to see the government (especially this administration) finally starting to get it. For years I wondered why they were so obtuse and backward in their thinking.

Finally there can be more research into CBD, THCV, and a whole slew of diseases and conditions like cancer, pain management, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, obesity — just to name a few.

Of course the medical side is awesome, but let’s face it, probably the driving force behind this change of heart is money. I think Big Pharma, once afraid of the effects of cannabis on its market, is going to turn around, embrace cannabis and sell the fuck out of it. Hello Weed 7-11s!

The next reason would be competition in the world market. Did you know China holds more than half of the 600 cannabis-related patents?! Many countries like China, Canada and Israel have embraced cannabis research and are years ahead of the U.S. America lags behind stifled by the punitive “War On Drugs” mentality that never really worked beyond putting a lot of people in jail or a grave. It’s time we let our doctors take over. We need a second opinion!

So thank you Surgeon General for finally stating the obvious, and “Cheers And Light Up” to all you stoners out there! We had it right all along!!

Dan Karkoska
Dan Karkoska is an independent producer, promoter, film critic, and DJ on the San Francisco scene. He also works with Maria Konner at Under the Golden Gate and is currently producing and hosting PUFF, the first queer marijuana rock-and-roll drag party every first Thursday at The Stud. He is a big stoner. Photo by Sari Staver.
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