Cannabis event brings up many questions

Jan. 30, 2019 | G. Michael Dobbs

On Friday I was at my usual seat, smoking my usual cigar when I saw through an open door at the establishment I was visiting the sight of three Springfield police officers going up to the floor above me.

Oh, oh, I thought.

Above me was a gathering that is increasingly common in the area: a private event at which people who use cannabis in various forms gather to exchange through donations products for both recreational or medical purposes.

I’m sure you saw the headlines the next day of 200 pounds of cannabis seized and two people were arrested at the Mardi Gras strip club. To be clear, the pot event was not in the strip club nor was it even adjacent to it.

Let’s not let a good headline get in the way of an accurate story.

Of course, the question remains why the owners of the building elected to rent space out to an event the police made a target for an undercover investigation. There is also the question of who tipped the police to the event and what was the motivation.

And unlike other events that are similar, this one was not closed to a private audience, according to people who were there.

I’m hoping these questions are answered in the hearings conducted by the Board of License Commissioners.

I don’t use cannabis per se, but I do use CBD oil derived from the plant every day and have seen benefits in the reduction of arthritic pain. Medical cannabis has been shown to have many positive effects as well.

I have nothing against adults using cannabis, especially now that it is legal.

Frankly having done some interviews for a story about these kinds of events, it’s very hard for me to believe that these private parties are any sort of threat to public welfare.

What are the real problems? How about heroin? How about fentanyl? These are killing people.

Are the events illegal? The organizers don’t believe they are, but the police responded to a tip that this one was happening. Whether or not they become a priority for law enforcement and the district attorney has yet to be seen.

Considering there were no minors at the event, no disturbances, and as far as I’ve been told, no other issues I’m not sure why they should become a priority.

One friend of mine helped me understand what the events are all about: “Many members compare the quality to a medical dispensary however quantity is very limited. Never open to the public. No one is in this to really make money. Grow facilities donate product while exchanging product and knowledge to a private clientele … Members are ambassadors for the community seeking a safe space. They gift a very minimum amount of homemade goods to this private group. There is a complete guest list with an email and phone number of each member who RSVP for the event, Med card ID and state issued ID determines prepaid membership rate … It’s important to a mom or a veteran or like my boyfriend with an autoimmune disease seeking safe cannabis solutions to speak to someone knowledgeable and direct who can take seeds to plant to flower to oil to edible and beyond. They enhance a direct communication with a now legalized self-medicating 21-plus community who wishes to benefit from the homeopathic option of the zero side effect plant. I have to eat local honey because it’s better for my immune system to eat local. I love to have an option to have my medications local as well.”

With the slow introduction of legal cannabis shops one wonders if the cost of running those shops – adhering to various regulations and passing along numerous taxes – would encourage the growth of these kind of grassroots – no pun intended – events. There is a bottleneck going on here: there is much more demand for cannabis products than there is access to “legal” supply. The issue of competition in the market place is also a concern – will the costs of cannabis through legal retail continue to create a secondary market?

I’m sure most people today realize that cannabis is much more than simply a substance one would use to get high. It is something that is providing medical benefits for a variety of health issues.

I am hoping this bust is not a trend for law enforcement. We have much more pressing problems to address.

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