The Politics of Pot

I feel left out of the cannabis craze sweeping the nation. All I seem to get from marijuana is paranoia, and after eating a pot caramel recently I had an experience similar to what I’d expect from LSD.

My friend Wayne took me to a restaurant atop an Oklahoma City skyscraper for my birthday, and we ate the candy beforehand. At dinner it began to hit me. I was so unsure of my motor skills I had to hold my wine glass with both hands. I turned to Wayne and said, “I think we’re really getting messed up,” to which he replied, “Oh, I think we’re doing great!”

By the time we were back at his house I was really tripping. I felt like I was having an out of body experience, but it also felt like scuba diving. Anytime something in this dimension needed my attention, when someone spoke to me, for example, I felt like I had to stop exploring and swim to the surface. The interruptions were tiring and unnerving, so I went to the bedroom to hide for the rest of what was supposed to be a big evening out.

Long story short: pot isn’t my thing. It is, however, wildly popular with many, for both recreational and medicinal purposes, and is America’s fastest growing industry.

In Missouri, organizations like Show-Me Cannabis are working hard to legalize medical marijuana. They’ve put up billboards, bought radio spots, and recently brought one hundred supporters to Jefferson City to lobby legislators, many whom expressed optimism about the prospects for industrial hemp and medical cannabis this session.

One vocal cannabis advocate in St. Louis is Steve Patterson, a man the Riverfront Times calls “one of the city’s influential voices on urban planning and public policy” for his award winning blog Urban Review STL. A child of Nancy Regan’s “Just Say No” campaign, Patterson was opposed to drugs until he first tried pot at age 38. Since then he’s enjoyed vaping it, and has pondered the history of cannabis prohibition and the failed War on Drugs.

“The reasons why cannabis was made illegal in the thirties and listed as a Schedule I drug in 1970 have no basis in fact. Schedule I drugs are considered highly addictive with no medicinal value. Cannabis has always had medicinal uses” Patterson says, before pointing out that alcohol and tobacco are far more addictive and deadly. “There are 2.5 million alcohol related deaths annually, but nobody has ever overdosed on cannabis.”

Last year the Missouri legislature approved hemp oil to treat seizures, and the City of St. Louis decriminalized possession of small amounts.

Regarding legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Patterson thinks that could be around the corner. “Many of us hoped for a vote in 2014, when Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. approved measures, but polling showed support was strong but not high enough to guarantee a victory in a lower turnout midterm election. Show-Me Cannabis is working to get recreational legalization on the November 2016 ballot, and it’s looking promising.”

The hallucinogenic effects I experienced are very rare, and seem to only occur when a large amount is ingested. Marijuana is said to be the safer than alcohol, tobacco, and many prescription drugs, and it appears nationwide legalization is inevitable. The Senate is currently considering legislation that would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug, which would be the federal government’s first acknowledgment that the drug has medical benefits, and eventually the Supreme Court will have to weigh in on legalization when deciding the lawsuits against Colorado.

Whether Schedule I or II, cannabis won’t be on my personal schedule anytime soon, but people are quickly evolving on the issue as those once opposed to drugs, like Steve Patterson, turn over a new leaf…..and then smoke it. V

Written by Chris Andoe

 

 

 

One response to “The Politics of Pot”

  1. […] “The reasons why cannabis was made illegal in the thirties and listed as a Schedule I drug in 1970 have no basis in fact. Schedule I drugs are considered highly addictive with no medicinal value. Cannabis has always had medicinal uses” Patterson says, before pointing out that alcohol and tobacco are far more addictive and deadly. “There are 2.5 million alcohol related deaths annually, but nobody has ever overdosed on cannabis.” (The Vital Voice: The Politics of Pot) […]

About the Author

Chris Andoe

  • Columnist
  • chris@thevitalvoice.com

In the preface of his critically acclaimed book Delusions of Grandeur: A Few Hundred Tales From the Emperor of St. Louis, Metrosource NYC editor Paul Hagen writes, "Chris's writing - in particular his chronicles of the goings on in around St. Louis - had the urgency of a journalist embedded in a war zone...He opened doors to a world of people with multiple aliases and secret identities, sinister perpetrators of long cons, and drag performers who embody every aspect of the world legendary." Andoe's long-running "Tales From the Emperor" column in Vital VOICE attracts an international following. When he's not writing or touring, his interests include politics, climbing through abandoned buildings and knocking wigs back.

View other posts by