Tag: International Cannabis Business Conference

In Historic First, United States’ Top Doctor Says Decriminalize Cannabis

Virtually no week goes by without the cannabis community taking a big step towards ending federal prohibition, whether it’s politically, culturally, or scientifically. It’s a good thing that we have the truth and common sense on our side as apparently each of these steps are necessary towards overcoming decades of Reefer Madness propaganda and the political influence of deep-pocketed special interests that benefit from mass incarceration policies that enrich the prison-industrial complex, from private prisons to drug testing companies. Now, making history as the first sitting United States Surgeon General to back cannabis decriminalization, Dr. Vivek Murthy says that it’s time to stop jailing people for marijuana, as Marijuana Moment reported:

“’When it comes to decriminalization, I don’t think that there is value to individuals or to society to lock people up for marijuana use,’ Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a CNN appearance. ‘I don’t think that serves anybody well.’

“Murthy was answering a question about a new draft federal marijuana legalization bill that was circulated last week by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other top senators.

“While the surgeon general stopped short of endorsing full-scale commercial cannabis legalization, his comments do indicate support for an approach that would at least decriminalize low-level possession.”

Surgeon General Murthy isn’t exactly the very first U.S. Surgeon General as Dr. Joycelyn Elders backed legalization after serving in government, even keynoting the International Cannabis Business Conference back in 2016, as covered by the Sacramento Bee:

“The marijuana legalization advocate called for an end to federal policy that classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no accepted medical use – listed as worse than methamphetamine or cocaine.

“She called for increased federally sanctioned medical marijuana research and decriminalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use – as part of shifting resources from law enforcement to public health.

“’We know that prohibition laws did nothing but waste money, waste lives and destroy opportunities,’ said Elders, who decried racially disproportionate arrests and criminal sentences for marijuana and other narcotics. ‘It is not working. And marijuana has been the engine driving the drug war.’”

With various factors to hammer out legislatively, including taxes, social equity provisions, and criminal justice reforms, passing a federal legalization bill is going to be a tough slog, so we are going to need all of the ammunition that we can and the nation’s top doctor on board certainly won’t hurt. While the Surgeon General isn’t as famous as CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, so he won’t have the same impact culturally as Dr. Gupta’s evolution on the subject, the Surgeon General’s medical expertise should certainly help combat some fear mongering from prohibitionists. Another day, another step in the right direction in our fight for freedom and common sense, so I’ll take it.

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Travel Guru Rick Steves: Cannabis Legalization is About Civil Liberties

If you’ve done a lot of traveling, you likely know about Seattle’s Rick Steves, who hosts Rick Steves’ Europe on public TV and Travel with Rick Steves on public radio and has written numerous books and columns focusing on the importance of traveling and immersing yourself in local culture. Steves has also become one of the most prominent cannabis legalization advocates with his charismatic personality, positive demeanor and mainstream appeal. Steves hasn’t been able to travel much lately, but he’s keynoting the upcoming virtual International Cannabis Business Conference and speaking out about how legalizing cannabis is a civil liberties issue and it helps end harmful laws steeped in racism.

The Northwest travel guru recently spoke to LA Weekly:

Steves isn’t trying to convince any of these folks that marijuana is the best thing around, but you should not be locking people up for enjoying it.

“That’s kind of what I’m into. I fully understand the value of medical marijuana but it’s not my crusade. I’m sure it’s really exciting to get into the Green Rush and make some money with legal cannabis but that’s not my thing either. I just recognize the racism in it. I recognize the inherent lies and good people embracing reefer madness propaganda. And I’m just a big fan of civil liberties,” Steves said.


“I think we all need to remember it is still a struggle on the civil liberties front and we all work together we can keep the ball rolling forward to end the prohibition of marijuana.”

Rick Steves is 100% correct. While cannabis sales and tax revenue numbers make the headlines, it’s important to remember that legalization is about civil liberties and erasing a century of harmful policing practices that have disproportionately harmed people of color and the poor. As our nation deals with civil unrest sparked by the murder of George Floyd and too many unarmed people by law enforcement, it’s time to work even harder to end cannabis prohibition and the Greater Drug War from coast to coast. We have an opportunity, let’s seize it.

Featured photo credit: CarlosManzanoPHOTOs via Creative Commons license thru Wikimedia Commons.