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Recreational marijuana OK a defining moment

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On Nov. 3, 2020, Arizona residents voted in support of Proposition 207, the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, that has been termed “Recreational Marijuana.”

When we think of the term recreation, synonyms like fun, enjoyment, and pleasure come to mind.

However, Smart and Safe is much more profound, going beyond what the term recreational marijuana would suggest by focusing on the repair of community, political, social, and economic issues.

Smart and Safe expands the previously limited legal use of marijuana for severe and specific medical conditions to include all responsible adult use.

The intent was not just to restore civil rights and freedom of choice but more broadly to address major consequences of cannabis prohibition – prison overcrowding with nonviolent offenders, economic and social barriers stemming from a felony conviction, racial and economic disparities in the justice system, friction between our law enforcement and communities, disallowance of a safer alternative to alcohol and tobacco use, and lacking resources for treatment of substance abuse.

William Troutt

William Troutt

In this light, the phrase recreational marijuana use does not seem to do justice to this landmark moment in history and our aspirations. However, when you look deeper at the origins and uses of the word “recreation,” it starts to feel quite appropriate.  The term recreation has its foundation in health and healing.  Its uses have included restoration, curing of a person, recovery from illness, to invigorate and to refresh.  And now with Smart and Safe, industry and activists have found common ground in cannabis to address deep divisions and imbalances between our government, laws, communities, and people, with the promise of re-creation to restore unity, heal inequalities, invigorate economics, and revitalize faith in democracy.

I have been on the front line of this reconciliation in Arizona, first with the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act and now with the 2020 Smart and Safe Arizona Act.  As with many others, my family and my life have been deeply impacted by the war on drugs. Now, I am seeing a path to recovery. It is being built through cooperation, understanding, tolerance, unity, medicine, and recreation. 

I joined a start-up company in 2012, Harvest Health & Recreation.  They asked me to share my knowledge of cannabis culture and botanical medicine, and to serve as an advocate for patients, caregivers, and the communities we serve.  As Harvest’s medical director for the last eight years, I have collaborated with industry leaders, government representatives, business stakeholders, and medical organizations to advance cannabis programs and assist patients and our communities in their quest for safe, informed cannabis access.  Personally, I have witnessed medical success stories, courage, and unity, which have rejuvenated my hope and optimism for the future.  For thousands of years cannabis has been used for food, fuel, fiber, medicine, spirituality/religion, health, and leisure.  And now in Arizona we can appropriately call its use recreation.  I, for one, believe that this expanded access to legal cannabis for responsible adult “recreational” use – by any definition – is healthy for our communities.

Dr. William Troutt is director of medical education for Harvest Health & Recreation.

 

3 comments

  1. Marijuana legalization is part of what is called “distraction politics”. These are political issues that continue forever, consistently distracting us from important issues like “who is actually running the country?”, and “what can we do about it?”. There is only one political issue: “Money in Politics”. All other issues happen under this umbrella. If we change marijuana laws, abortion laws, voting laws, and civil rights laws, but do not change how Money controls our politicians, we have accomplished little. The current reversals of so many battles won in the 60s and 70s prove this. We think we are progressing, but we are going backwards. The people who run the governments want us to talk about marijuana, not them. ….. Marijuana should be legal to use. People in prison on mj charges should be released. Marijuana should not be used a racist weapon. But … if we think that legalizing marijuana is actually changing this country, we are falling victim to the ruse. Had we taken all the energy spent getting marijuana legalized, and instead used it to clean up money-in-AZ-politics, then we would be able to say we have really changed things.

  2. I’m happy we were able to get this done in Arizona. But, what wasn’t mentioned is the insane tax put on it. At 16% + local taxes, you could be paying 26% or more in taxes. This pretty much ensures organized crime and the black market will flourish in Arizona. Most people won’t pay the additional tax and will continue to purchase on the black market.

    This is a punitive tax. Now that police are unlikely to bust you based on probably cause, you may as well keep purchasing from your favorite dealer, tax free!

  3. I think this is a huge step for us and we must understand that this is the right thing to do. I totally disagree with people who say that this is degradation. Let’s remember why marijuana became unavailable, simply through dislike of hippies and infringement of their rights. It’s okay that everything falls into place and marijuana becomes available, and most importantly, it starts to heal people! That month my sister also needed a cannabis medicine and I am glad that it is available in our country. Thanks for the article to the author!

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