Can you picture it? A world, or at least an America, in which adults are free to medicate or recreate with cannabis at their discretion? A place where prisons once used to punish ordinary folks for possessing it are used instead to process it as medicine?

It’s not that far off. OK, we have a lot of work to do to make the first true. But the second is already in the works. In Coalinga, California, city council members just voted 4-1 to allow Ocean Grown Extracts to proceed with their business plan.

The plan: Turn a defunct prison into a cannabis manufacturing plant.

Stranger things have happened…maybe

Strange Things

Jails and prisons should be mainly places to keep violent criminals. But with mandatory minimum sentencing brought about by the Drug War, violent offenders are being let out early for good behavior, while non-violent (already showing good behavior!) drug offenders are kept in prison for years on end. The irony is as dense as a cannaphobe trying to justify Prohibition 2.0 while enjoying a Marlboro and a martini.

But the plan makes so much sense. Growing and storing massive amounts of cannabis can make any location a target of thieves. Re-purposing a prison that already has extensive security equipment and technology in place is a commonsense move that will save Ocean Grown a lot of money the company would otherwise have to spend on security. Plus, the town would no longer have a huge remote property sitting empty but still costing taxpayers for upkeep.

With the attitudes of the populace and of politicians becoming increasingly friendly toward legalization of cannabis for recreational and medical purposes, non-violent drug arrests and imprisonments should decline. Also, decriminalization is occurring at a rapid pace, replacing jail sentences with fines. We just aren’t going to need as many jails around the country (for “drug offenders”, at least).

Money talks

MOney Talks

Coalinga mayor Ron Ramsey thinks it’s a great idea that can help relieve his town of $3.2 million in debt. He tried to get Los Angeles County or the state of California to bring inmates into the facility, but both of those entities refused. What’s a city to do? Converting this unused property that is a drain on city coffers into a medicine-making facility is a great idea that other municipalities across the nation should emulate.

Some townspeople, however — notably Margaret Mims, the sheriff of Fresno County — think it’s a bad idea. In fact, she invoked the oft-repeated canard “Won’t someone think of the children?” when she went on record saying: “I’m more worried about the young people of this town that the money we make…I think they [city council members] are looking at this as a quick fix, and the problem with that is they won’t be able to stop because they will be so addicted to this revenue.”

Buzzwords are circling

Think of the children. Addicted. Those hot-button terms pretty much sum up the knee-jerk buzzword excuses that most prohibitionists use to shut down rational thought and justify their oppressive behavior. The problem with those excuses, though, is that they don’t hold water.

Under Prohibition, no one is thinking of the children. Black-market drug dealers don’t check I.D. They don’t care who buys weed, or anything else, as long as they get their money. As a result, in our current system it’s easier for high school students to obtain cannabis and hard drugs than cigarettes and beer.

As to addiction, no study has ever proven cannabis to be physically addictive. “Cannabis addiction” is a concept prohibitionists have used for 80 years to terrify an uneducated public. NIDA (the National Institutes on Drug Abuse) clouds the issue: “Marijuana use disorders are often associated with dependence — in which a user feels withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug.” To most people that’s a defining characteristic of addiction; but the vast majority of cannabis consumers will never experience it.

Should work be on the Schedule?

According to NIDA, “Studies suggest that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it.” That figure says nothing about people having real “withdrawal symptoms”. Sure, if they run out, they might get a little grumpy because of being frustrated that they don’t have what they’d prefer to have; but that’s something work does pretty effectively to most people on a daily basis. And yet, much as we may want to stop, we keep compulsively returning to it.

When we’re out of work, we think about it all the time. And even if we see work interfering with our relationships, wrecking our health, and draining our life away, we just can’t bring ourselves to quit. We develop a dependence on work. Are we, then, to fear work addiction? Should we be hunted down and punished for working, deprived of work, forced to do without it?

Hooked on facts

hooked on facts

The mere fact of all this wavering and waffling about “cannabis addiction” reveals that, to the extent it exists, it’s more preference or custom than addiction. There is always the odd exception, but for the vast majority of folks, cannabis consumption simply has nothing in common with the addiction that can occur in users of substances like alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, meth, and opioids. More people are addicted to sugar — millions of them children! — and it will cost many their lives. Prohibitionists desperately need the population at large to believe in this, so they can keep the herb illegal. Bizarrely, they never use the actual, extensively documented, physically addicting properties of alcohol and tobacco as arguments for outlawing those substances.

So, enjoying herb can become a habit, albeit one that nearly everyone with integrity on both sides admits is far safer than the aforementioned substances or even the amphetamines routinely prescribed for energetic children. And cannabis overdose (meaning death) is a manufactured myth: In 10,000 years of human history, not one instance of death due to cannabis intake has ever been recorded.

In sum, the mayor and city council of Coalinga, California, are to be applauded for aiming to turn a “big house” into a grow house. It’s a win-win for everyone involved and is a fantastic use of space.

Speaking of a win-win and fantastic use of space, you might like to use a tiny corner of your kitchen counter to produce some amazing cannabis extracts, if only you had the right appliance. The Botanical Extractor™ from MagicalButter® is the world’s first countertop device for infusing the essence of cannabis into food. It allows home chefs to discreetly extract cannabinoids from the plant and create delicious herbal recipes at the touch of a button. The beauty of making your healthy herbal treats at home is having complete control over the ingredients, getting consistent, potent extractions every time, and saving some hard-earned cash over buying premade edibles.

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