Medical Marijuana is on fire. Literally and figuratively, the controversial (dated) topic of legalization has finally made its way into the forefront of The New York State Legislature. Right now, as I write this article, there are twenty States (including The District of Columbia) that have allowed the legal possession of Marijuana.
Progressive, practical, cutting edge, States and municipalities that have agreed to unburden themselves of a legal responsibility that sometimes overwhelmed limited resources.
I'm not writing this to champion the success of repealing marijuana law. The point of this article is Utica. I'm not concerned with the rest of the country. I'm wondering what role, if any, we stubborn Utican's play in the inevitable change in laws.
When pot is legalized, will Utica accept this with open arms; poised to take advantage? Or will she resist due to moral or personal conflicts of interest? Like the some States did with Affordable Care Act.
Just like the local Democrats initially rejected the possibility of an Obama nomination (over Hillary), many people around here don't think its possible Marijuana will ever be available legally. How backwards can you get? All the evidence points toward a legal Medical Marijuana law and better yet, an economic boom from it.
There are two Senate Bills -SB1682 & SB4406- submitted by Sen. Velmanette Montgomery and Sen. Diane Savino and one Assembly Bill -AB6357- submitted by Richard Gottfried.
All three bills will allow the distribution acquisition and production of Marijuana for medicinal uses.
The fact is, people are already acquiring it for recreational and medicinal uses. These laws will relax the burden of shame from those terminally ill people that really need the relief that potent strains of marijuana have been proven to provide. Currently the only way they can get relief is by breaking the law.
Many people ask; Why is this important? For one, marijuana is proven to be less harmful than alcohol and just like prohibition from alcohol the societal effects of the marijuana prohibition seem to be worse than the substance itself. College Educations derailed, families broken up and young peoples lives altered beyond repair from being caught in possession of a small amount of a pretty harmless drug. Even more sinister are the stop and frisk laws in New York City that primarily targeted young black men in a disproportionate manner resulting in thousands of arrests for marijuana possession.
Upstate New York has enjoyed an unholy alliance with downstate for decades. They help keep The Prisons full and we vote for the ridiculous "Rockefeller Type" legislation that insures it. This law will relax the flow, making room for the type of people that should be behind bars instead of creating them behind bars.
I envision a ripe future with multiple dispensaries employing a few hundred jobs per city.
We are perfectly located in the center of the State and with the high quality offerings from The Adirondacks I'm sure we would quickly earn a reputation among Gourmet Cannabis circles.
Can you see it? Just close your eyes. Full Coffee shops in downtown Utica? Wholesalers along Broad St? The Mayor cutting two ribbons a week.
I am allowed to dream.