Drugs

How Right-Wingers in One State Are Trying to Give Elites Control of the Marijuana Industry

Even when it comes to marijuana, they're out to help the 1%.

Conservatives live in a fantasy world, and nowhere is that more clear right now than in the state of Washington.

Right now, the Evergreen State is trying to streamline its policies on medical and recreational marijuana.

Back in 2012, Washington voters approved the creation of a legal recreational, marijuana market.

That market is now heavily regulated and taxed.

Unfortunately, there was nothing in the measure voters approved that talked about the state's medical marijuana market, and how it should be regulated.

So now, there are two competing bills sitting in the Washington state senate that both seek to address that state's medical marijuana market.

One of the bills is from a Republican state senator, and the other is from a Democrat state senator.

The Republican measure, introduced by State Sen. Ann Rivers, would put much of the control of Washington's medical marijuana market in the hands of a few very wealthy individuals.

Those very wealthy individuals, led by millionaire Martin Tobias, a former Microsoft executive, are behind the Washington CannaBusiness Association.

That group, also known as WACA, lobbied heavily for the Republican-backed legislation, and gave multiple donations to Republican lawmakers in the Evergreen State.

The WACA-fueled measure would essentially destroy independent growers and non-profit growing co-ops, retailers and sellers who have been around since the birth of Washington's medical marijuana program in the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, there's the proposed legislation from Democratic State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

Her bill wouldn't put control over the medical marijuana market in just a few hands.

Instead, it would allow anyone in Washington who's 21 years or older to grow up to six marijuana plants and to share up to an ounce of marijuana with other adults, as long as money isn't exchanged.

The Democrats' bill would also pave the way for more marijuana growers to be licensed and for more retail shops to pop up across the state ... you know, let a thousand small businesses grow!

Basically, when it comes to a medical marijuana system in Washington state, the legislative choice is between a system that allows a lot of people to earn a decent amount of money through owning or working at their own local, small co-op, or a system where just a few people make massive amounts of money by monopolizing the marketplace.

And, because the Washington state senate is controlled by Republicans, we can probably guess which way they'll vote.

That's because conservatives have a very "unique" view of the world.

They think it's better for one person to get mind-bogglingly rich than for the masses to rise into the middle-class and live comfortable lives.

Similarly, they have a very different view of the "American Dream."

Prior to Regan, living the "American Dream" meant having a good-paying job, being able to get a good education and living a comfortable middle-class life.

Since Reagan, living the "American Dream" means hitting the jackpot in a lottery drawing, or magically becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, and conservatives are fine with that.

They're fine with an elitist "American Dream" that's only achievable for a select few people.

Living the "American Dream" shouldn't be just for the wealthy elite and well-connected. It should be possible for everyone - every man, woman and child.

It's time for us to get out of conservative fantasy-land, redefine the "American Dream" and make the United States great again.

Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and author of over 25 books in print

 

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