Introducing the Marijuana-Tobacco Trafficking Elimination Act

Then NH State Representative Michael Weddle, in 1990, addressing the National Drug Policy Foundation/NORML conference in Washington DC

Background

First, let’s not be like the major tobacco companies were in decades past when they tried to fool us into thinking that harms associated with smoking tobacco were minimal at worst. This has clearly been proven untrue!

Secondly, no law will stop people from smoking tobacco. If anything has proven this fact, it has been America’s pitiful, failing and wasteful War on Drugs which has done more harm than good.

I doubt our politicians in Washington are capable of adopting the overnight wisdom to begin treating drug problems medically instead of criminally. After all, many are the politicians who’ve gotten free rides by proclaiming “I’m tough on crime, tough on drugs … re-elect me!”

Lots of ‘em have uncles or best friends who own urine-testing companies! I’d love to see the count of how many politicians have invested in publicly-traded private prison or private probation corporations? Mark my words, private policing comes next!

No, I’m not Socrates corrupting youth. I just happen think that treating drug problems medically instead of criminally makes perfect sense!

Most folks do not realize the Drug War actually helps to keep people subjugated into living within an underground economy, feeling hopeless and locked out from the mainstream. Many do not like the bright lights of the voting stations, or what they deem could become public scorn should they even show up to vote. It’s easier to hide. The problem here, and what gets missed, is the fact that we need a point of contact to actually help deal with serious drug problems.

In America’s elections, generally half the people vote in presidential elections, one-third in state elections and under 20 percent in municipal elections. Oligarchy’s got it all figured out: the fewer people who vote the easier it is to control, under the two-party system, those who do vote. Where you come down on monopolized media-exaggerated god, gun and gay issues pretty much determines whether you’ll become a Republican or a Democrat. Take your pick!

Of course, folks relegated into the underground tend not to vote. So it becomes a win for the economics of oligarchy and those it assigns as political operatives who are adept at making and keeping pedigreed politicians.

Essentially, we’ve evolved into an American Oligarch Enrichment Project whereby Oligarch Protection Units (OPUs = extremely high-paid consultants/lobbyists, party-pedigreed elected officials and conglomerate media types — have taken over America’s governance (see 2014 Princeton Study on Oligarchy).

But the OPUs are a different kind of problem. This article is meant to help solve a particular problem that has long-plagued our society.

Marijuana-Tobacco Trafficking Elimination Act

I actually introduced this concept at The 1990 Drug Policy Foundation/NORML conference. However, the conference was so top-heavy with very credible analysts and so many other ideas were being rightfully considered, nobody thought to push my simple solution. I even got distracted as I left politics to become a Harvard Square street musician … a step up — lol!

I did, however, get to perform at Occupy-Boston!

Anyway, Marijuana-Tobacco Trafficking Elimination Act works as follows:

  1. Tobacco is already legal. Make Marijuana legal. People should have the right to chose whether they wish to consume these products. So the next step becomes making their availability consistent with a policy of harm reduction.
  2. Make it illegal to sell tobacco or marijuana in commercially-produced cigarette packs. This essentially amounts to a profiteering push of the product upon people. Take the commercial push out of the product!
  3. Only allow that tobacco or marijuana be sold in pouch form. In other words, you buy a bag — a half-ounce, ounce, quarter-pound or a pound — of the substance. In effect, the consumer rolls their own cigarette/joint. This can be done by hand-rolling or using a device to assist with rolling. Anyone with a physical disability and unable to roll will receive a waiver for purchasing already-rolled tobacco or marijuana.
  4. As to the merit of whether marijuana should be legal, it’s no longer a matter of debate. I offer the following:

That’s it — it’s pretty simple.

Current tobacco-producing companies can expand their markets by including marijuana and by selling materials needed for people to roll their own product. The freedom of the long-standing tradition to smoke remains preserved. Hey, this works for pipe smokers. It can also work for those who smoke cigarettes, especially for those who suffer addiction to nicotine.

The ultimate benefit, however, is that people likely will smoke less tobacco if required to roll their own cigarettes. Importantly, fewer young people will pick up the habit. People smoking less are healthier people and this will substantially and positively impact upon our health care delivery system.

In essence, The Marijuana-Tobacco Trafficking Elimination Act flies lots of balloons on one string! As a side note, stop “killing lots of birds with one stone!”

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Michael Weddle

Michael Weddle

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Founder of Boston’s Climate Change Band; former NH State Representative; Created Internet’s 1st Anti-War Debate; Supporter of Bernie Sanders & Standing Rock!