Smoke Signals

Where will the pushback to legal pot come from?

The line between what is legal and illegal when it comes to cannabis in California—and the nug-lovin’ nation at large—gets blurrier with every joint-passing minute. The question is: How, when and where will the big repressive pushback come? Oklahoma and Nebraska?

I was one of the 10,000 people to attend this year’s Emerald Cup at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, earlier in December. A very enjoyable day, no doubt, but one thing that struck me is how much of a “separate but equal” set-up there is to the festival.

This is a matter of legal necessity, wrapped in an enigma of festival logistics. Medical cannabis is legal in California, so if you had your medical marijuana card, you could enter the area of the Emerald Cup where, let’s face it, most of the real fun was taking place. Where all the good medicine was being dispensed.

If you didn’t have a card, you could buy a pipe and a T-shirt if you wanted. Or you could pay something like $200 and get your card on the spot. I don’t know, doesn’t that just seem a little silly?

The Emerald Cup mirrors how a new day in national cannabis policy is unfolding. Entire states have legalized recreational use, while others continue with an anti-cannabis posture that’s sure to reach some kind of critical mass.

And away we go. Just a couple days before the conference, Nebraska and Oklahoma, red states to the brutal core, announced a lawsuit against Colorado over its legalization move. They said the cannabis had spilled across their borders, but offered scant detail in the suit, just a lot of blowhardification about how cannabis is illegal under federal law, and therefore—wait for it!—Colorado is being very unconstitutional.

Colorado’s telling the Okies to stick it and counting the $300 million in pot taxes it collected this year. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s still trying to figure out whether to be a Free State when it joins the Union. Get with the program, guys. The culture war is over, and you lost.

Tom Gogola is the news editor of the ‘Bohemian.’

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the ‘Bohemian.’ We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].

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