“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov
We answer your burning questions—and yes, there will be cannabis ice cream.
Mother Jones illustration
For Californians, legal cannabis is right around the corner. But we have questions. And as it turns out, many of you do, too. A couple weeks ago we wanted to know what questions you had about pot, and the responses were overwhelming. So we went through them and weeded out the most common questions.
First, let’s be clear about what the law says. On November 8th, 2016, Californians passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Proposition 64. That law went into effect immediately, but licensed cannabis businesses aren’t allowed to start selling recreational weed until January 1. On a basic level, Prop 64:
Allows adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of weedor eight grams of concentrated cannabis in public and grow up to six plants per residence.
Places taxes on the sale and cultivation of weed. We get into the specifics below.
Regulates marketing of cannabis products and specifically prohibits advertising weed directly to minors.
Grants some people with prior pot convictions the option to be re-sentenced and/or have their records destroyed.
Still, the law leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Here’s what you, Mother Jonesreaders, wanted to know:
Where will I be able to buy it?
Just because you’re allowed to possess weed in California doesn’t mean that cities and counties will let businesses sell it. So far, only a few places have passed legislation allowing the sale of cannabis—and even fewer have started handing out licenses to pot shops. That means there will only be a small number of places you’ll be able to buy recreational weed in California on January 1. Some of those places include San Diego, San Jose, and Oakland.
To find out if your city or county does allow recreational sales, you should check your local laws. The San Francisco Chronicle has spent months building a local law lookup tool. You can try it out here. (While the tool is updated regularly, the best way to look up your area’s rules is on your city or county’s website.)
The creator of LSD, Dr. Albert Hofmann, believed that ingesting tiny amounts of the drug could have therapeutic value, and so-called “microdoses” have since been proposed as a substitute for everything from Adderall to marriage counseling. Now, as more states legalize marijuana, the trend that began with hallucinogens has grown to include microdoses of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in weed.VICE News traveled to Portland, Oregon, to meet Ethan Ernest, creator of marijuana microdose pills called Mirth Control, which contain a fraction of the THC found in a typical joint or batch of edibles. Earnest compares Mirth Control to “open-source Xanax. Other products in the new weed microdosing category push the envelope even further with suggestions about purported medical uses.
Under current rules, doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot even discuss marijuana as an option with patients.
One of the nation’s most conservative veterans’ groups is appealing to President Donald Trump to reclassify marijuana to allow large-scale research into whether cannabis can help troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The change sought by The American Legion would conflict with the strongly anti-marijuana positions of some administration leaders, most vocally Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Under current rules, doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot even discuss marijuana as an option with patients. But the alternative treatment is gaining support in the medical community, where some researchers hope pot might prove more effective than traditional pharmaceuticals in controlling PTSD symptoms and reducing the record number of veteran suicides.
“We are not asking for it to be legalized,” said Louis Celli, the national director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation for the American Legion, which with 2.4 million members is the largest U.S. veterans’ organization. “There is overwhelming evidence that it has been beneficial for some vets. The difference is that it is not founded in federal research because it has been illegal.”
The Legion has requested a White House meeting with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close aide, “as we seek support from the president to clear the way for clinical research in the cutting edge areas of cannabinoid receptor research,” according to a recent letter shared with POLITICO.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that marijuanais not a factor in the war on drugs, arguing that the biggest problems are found in other substances.
“Marijuana is not a factor in the drug war,” Kelly told NBC News’ Chuck Todd onMeet the Press when asked how marijuana legalization would impede or help this fight. “It’s three things. Methamphetamine. Almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin. Virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south.”
The solution, said Kelly, won’t come from arrests over drug use.
A demonstrator at a marijuana legalization rally in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day 2017. Theo Wargo/Getty Images
A demonstrator at a marijuana legalization rally in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day 2017.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images
The Justice Department may step up enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have voted to legalize its recreational use, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
“I do believe think you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer said, during his daily press briefing. He added that the Department of Justice will be looking into the issue further.
Spicer’s comments offer an indication of how the Trump administration may approach the nation’s fast-growing cannabis industry. New Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been less direct when asked about marijuana, saying during his confirmation hearings that he would “review and evaluate” existing policies.
Roughly 1 in 5 Americans now live in a state where non-medical marijuana is legal for adults and that number may be growing. Lawmakers in Maryland have recently proposed bills allowing recreational use. Medical use of cannabis is allowed in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
Spicer differentiated between medical and recreational use of the plant, saying Trump “understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana can bring them.”