Twenty-five years ago this month the voters of California became the first in the nation to green-light the sale of medicinal marijuana. It would take another 20 years before recreational pot was approved by voters.

In only four states—Idaho, Wyoming, Tennessee and South Carolina—are all forms of marijuana still illegal.

Then there is the federal government, where marijuana is still a Schedule I drug—the most restrictive class. This is the definition per the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.”

What really seems criminal is this federal classification of marijuana.

Maybe that will change. After all, the House Judiciary Committee in late September approved a bill to decriminalize and deschedule marijuana. The Marijuana, Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.

This means the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws would be eliminated. A federal tax would be implemented, criminal records for just about everyone except drug kingpins would be expunged, and money would be provided to communities severely impacted by the war on drugs.

I don’t use pot in any form, but I think it should be available legally to those who want/need it for whatever reason. States have proven it can work. It’s time for the feds to unshackle this plant and let it grow legally. Yes, regulate it though; have age restrictions, driving while high consequences, product specifications and a whole list of rules.

Maybe by the time the feds make it legal Chico will have gotten its house in order to allow dispensaries in the city limits. While the council in August 2020 approved recreational dispensaries, the process has been stalled. In the meantime, dispensaries from outside of the area are delivering goods to residents who want their product. The black market still exists and home grows are common. Why Chico isn’t capitalizing on this product is baffling and stupid.

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