In this 13 minute video clip (worth it) of John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oliver explains the ridiculous inconsistencies various states are facing with the legalization of marijuana. Albeit a humorous take on the situation, Oliver discusses the serious problems marijuana has as a result of it first being established as a Schedule I drug by the Nixon Administration in 1970. Nixon was described by Oliver as being the “Mozart of racially motivated law-making,” and played an audio clip of him describing those in favor of legalization of marijuana as “mostly jewish psychiatrists” and that he was going to “hit them right in the puss.” (Snort) And so he did, and the War on Drugs began.
Marijuana is still a Schedule I drug, meaning it is considered on a federal level as having zero medical use. In almost complete rejection of this, 44 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and eight have legalized for recreational use. Sixty percent of Americans were polled in a recent Gallop poll to be in favor of legalization as opposed to 12 percent in 1969.
“Marijuana is something we’ve all just gradually decided is OK, like Mark Wahlberg as a serious actor,” Oliver joked.
Because of this discrepancy, access to marijuana and operations of marijuana based businesses become increasingly difficult without federal cooperation. Most dispensaries operate in cash-only scenarios, paying out employees with envelopes of cash, and even paying their state taxes in this way. It is nearly impossible to get a bank account for marijuana businesses because of federal restrictions considering this to be money laundering. It appears it will be an uphill battle with the current Trump Administration, in particular with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who relentlessly degrades those who use marijuana, and is most notably quoted as saying “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Despite these problems, states appear to be pushing forward with bills being presented to remove prohibition of marijuana, which would create a ripple effect of change in the industry, save the country millions of dollars in resources used to criminalize the plant, and bring a wave of relief to those who desperately need the product for medical use.
(Warning: some bad language…HBO and all..).