It’s time to build trust about cannabis

Alas, state regulators have wrapped up the marijuana regulation-making process and the regulations are now heading to the Department of Law for review. From there Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot will review them and sign or not sign them into law. 

Now, local communities are working out their local cannabis ordinances, zoning, etc. 

Something I am finding in many communities, including Homer, is a general distrust and fear of the cannabis industry. 

One planning commissioner in Homer recently said that she had heard a story on NPR about a child in Colorado who ate a cannabis sucker and died. 

I looked everywhere for that article after the meeting and could not find it. I did, however, find propaganda articles that suggested one man who ate a pot brownie killed himself due to the reaction. 

Maybe the guy had other problems. How can the news even say they know that was why he killed himself? That is poor journalism and reefer madness. 

In the 2,000+ years that humans beings have been using cannabis, not one single death has been reported. Peanuts are more harmful than cannabis. Sugar is more harmful than cannabis. You all know where alcohol stands in this mix as well, yet we let folks drink from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m. the next day with only a 3-hour delay to their next bottle. No big deal, right? 

Unless of course we see a drunkard laying next to The Grog Shop, passed out. Then it’s a problem, right? 

When is the last time you saw someone passed out in public while under the influence of marijuana? 

When is the last time you heard somebody killed someone while driving under the influence of marijuana? 

When is the last time you heard that somebody died from consuming cannabis? 

If you have, please, check numerous sources to verify it. Then share it with us, because if there is a death that has been as a result of cannabis, we would like to know, too. 

I think the point I want to make here is there is nothing to fear with cannabis. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for medicine, relaxation and therapy. Only within the last century has it been made illegal, which was a result of lobbying from the cotton, pharmaceutical and oil industry. Today, add police unions and alcohol, and you have misinformation coming from all of them. How can one possibly sift through it? 

You have to take a risk, and find out for yourself. Talk with local industry members, learn more about cannabis. Figure out that this industry isn’t just about people getting high. It’s about growth, revenues and jobs. If we create reasonable zoning and regulations for cannabis establishments, we will see new revenues flowing that we never thought were possible. 

Take some time to actually go look at a cannabis plant, touch it, smell it — I promise you, it won’t hurt you. You might just change your mind, feeling the leaves in your hands.

Folks, these plants are a miracle. Why on Earth would we ban them or make it impracticable to grow them and have it as a economic option? 

Please, if you are a cannabis user, advocate, industry member or just someone from the general public who doesn’t fear cannabis, attend city planning meetings. 

Right now decisions are being made and we need to let them know there is nothing to fear. We need to let them know that cannabis is going to bring growth to our state and local communities. 

We also need to let them know that industry members will do everything they can to keep cannabis out of the hands of minors and that all other regulations are followed. 

Jeremiah Emmerson is a member of the Alaska Cannabis Collective, an online business directory and blog for Alaska’s cannabis industry. He lives in Homer.