Medical Marijuana And The Pot Republic Essays Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Drugs, Marijuana, Law, Government, Pot, California, Politics, Criminal Justice

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/22

I believe that marijuana should be legalized, and I think the medical marijuana laws in California are a good way to start doing that; however, the workarounds and the overly flimsy excuses used to allow illegal drug operations and dangerous cartels to operate under Prop 215 gives me reason for concern. Looking at the legal pot growers that already exist in the country, I think it is possible for marijuana to be grown and sold in the United States legally, without worrying about illegal use or distribution. It just is not happening now, because of these gray areas and a lack of regulation of these growers. Laws need to be made clearer and more strict about what ways medical marijuana can be grown in California before a true sense of a legal pot industry can be created.
In the PBS Frontline documentary The Pot Republic, the medical marijuana industry in California is explored. This industry must deal with quite a few factors, from the different interpretations of drug law between state and federal governments, to the loose way it is applied by growers and businesses (whether legal or illegal). The push for marijuana legalization is an important one for California’s citizens, but the issue is very complex when the federal government itself considers pot illegal, and is not willing to honor local and state law to allow marijuana to be sold and/or grown.
The government’s role in the California marijuana issue is, on the surface, very clear – regulating the legality and use of marijuana. As a whole, the government is meant to regulate whether or not it is legal to grow and/or sell and consume marijuana in California, as well as how those things are done and in what ways. The goal of this is to make sure that their constituent’s needs are met, but in a responsible way; the government must weigh the demand of their citizens for pot against the potential pitfalls, and so the medical stipulation for marijuana is ostensibly meant to regulate approval of smoking to people that ‘need’ it. While this may seem overly generous and not really in the spirit of regulation, this leniency also allows for the $1 million of tax revenue mentioned in the documentary that comes from the state’s weed industry. To that end, the pot industry turns out to be very profitable both for companies and the government as a whole.
Prop 215 is the primary legislation discussed in the documentary, which permits Californians to get medical marijuana for nearly any reason, provided they meet with a doctor and get approval for it. At the same time, the push to regulate medical marijuana growing is the central focus of the documentary, and whether or not that is a good idea. The state currently exists in a gray area where California itself thinks marijuana should be legally sold and distributed to those who need it for medical purposes, but the federal government wants to crack down on this activity, even in California itself. What’s more, the hunger for tax revenue and an overall desire to see pot growth rise in the state leads medical marijuana licenses to be given out loosely. There is a black market for marijuana that uses Prop 215, very loosely interpreted, to grow pot to take out of state. These growing operations are often used by Mexican drug cartels who come in for quick periods of growing, then they cultivate it and sell it out of state for greater profits.
While California itself seems to be very much in favor of legalizing pot, the documentary shows where that conflicts with the federal government. The Department of Justice sends out letters to the Attorneys General of these counties and California as a whole in order to get them to comply with federal law that states that marijuana growing is illegal; however, this does not work well with the state laws like Prop 215, which make pot legal. Even though illegal operations are happening under these loose interpretations, the state cannot do anything about them, and the federal government will continue to try to crack down on legalized pot in the state.
In terms of the private sector, the California marijuana issue opens up the possibility for pot-based businesses to be started and for them to thrive. At the beginning of the documentary, the pot convention sports a number of small businesses dedicated to operating within the pot industry; without the legality of marijuana in California, these businesses would not be able to operate legally. These businesses also seek to make sure their audience and consumer base (e.g. those who smoke pot) see their needs met through their products, which often rely as much on novelty (pot cookies, brownies, glass-blown pipes) as they do effectiveness. The documentary itself is primarily focused on these businesses, who are absolutely concerned with turning a profit and becoming successful businesses, and want to capitalize on the legality of marijuana in California (which is not true in many other states).
While the documentary does not discuss nonprofits specifically, it is clear that there are many special interest groups dedicated to making sure pot gets legalized. Throughout the documentary, we are shown a number of growers, hippie enthusiasts, and “potrepreneurs” who would benefit from pot legalization, and so these special interest groups work to get laws like Prop 215 passed (and Prop 19, though that is shown to fail). These non-profits have a basic desire to see pot legalized, because they see it as having no physical downsides and having the opportunity to bring in tax revenue for the state. To that end, they help to facilitate these kinds of laws, as well as public interest in marijuana legalization, bringing forth this marriage of state governments wanting tax revenue and businesses/individuals wanting to grow, sell and use pot in California.
After watching the documentary, I would not say my fundamental opinion on the issue of marijuana legalization has changed, but that the method for its legalization should change. Another confusing thing is the divide between the state and federal government’s positions on growing medical marijuana, since the Attorney General letters these counties are receiving basically prioritize the laws of the federal government over those of the states. This can make it hard when states pass laws for their own citizens that the federal government does not approve of. These questions and more make the issue of medical marijuana far from ideal, since it would only work if these perfect situations were created (no cartels, real regulation of growers, clear communication and agreement between state and federal governments). Because of that, my opinion on the way marijuana is being legalized in California has changed, even if my opinion on the idea of marijuana legalization has not.

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"Medical Marijuana And The Pot Republic Essays Example," Free Essay Examples -, 22-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Apr-2024].
Medical Marijuana And The Pot Republic Essays Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 22, 2020. Accessed April 17, 2024.

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