Author and marijuana activist Mark Pederson is at the helm of a proposal that would be a catalyst for a major change in cannabis regulation. He has presented petition 2016-008, legislation that aims to reduce marijuana from a Schedule I classification on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of controlled substances to a food that would therein be subject to inspection by the United States Department of Agriculture.
In a recent interview with Daily River Front Times, Pederson stated that he believed the government discourages a “superfood” that is “less toxic than baby aspirin.” His proposal, which some might consider unusual, is deliberately dissimilar and outstanding from any other marijuana legislation that has come to vote anywhere in recent times.
With the aide of KC Norml, a marijuana law reform group based in Kansas City, Missouri, Pederson successfully submitted the petition to put cannabis legalization to vote on the 2016 Missouri general election ballot.
“I believe that cannabis needs to be as legal as corn or wheat,” Pedersen said.
And his proposal suggests that he’s quite serious. His initiative seeks to limit law enforcement, ban age limits on usage, abolish high taxation and allow an unlimited amount of the plant to be cultivated. KC Norml needs roughly 160,000 signatures or 8 percent of active voters to get on the ballot.
The initiative is unprecedented, as he desires not only the release of anyone in prison or from parole for a marijuana-only conviction but also to deny police the authority to arrest or charge a person with a DUI if the person only tests positive for marijuana.
“Testing positive… has no bearing on an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle,” he said.
Pederson currently processes full cannabis extract oil for medical patients battling ailment and disease in Colorado. Adults and children as young as one years old benefit from his extracts, which he says help limit “and in some cases stops their seizures.”
Working directly with medical marijuana patients, Pederson is able to acknowledge the issues with legislation that affects patients who need cannabis to properly function. Due to legislation in Colorado, residents are only allowed to grow six plants at a time. He iterates how “absolutely, positively absurd” it is to limit marijuana cultivation in a state where pot is legal. Particularly because some people require more cannabis than other to manage their symptoms. He cites meeting patients that drank one full plant a day. Combine this limitation with tax laws that according to Pederson, “channel revenue into a funnel so a number of people can get wealthy” and the state has created a situation that makes marijuana products too costly to the people that need it most.
“What we want to bring is education,” Pedersen said. “If every person truly understood the scope of what we’re talking about and what it means for people’s health, they would be pulling down the gates.”
As cannabis continues its rise to legalization, more people than ever are starting to become aware of its wonderful benefits from a pain reliever to sleep and hunger aide. Scientists, doctors and patients throughout the nation can attest to the plant’s healing qualities. Equally, oil, wax and hash have proven to assist people who utilize it and its application in food has become a mainstay for its consumption. Still, the positives of cannabis are overshadowed by its view in the most important regard, legality. Though it’s legal in 23 states and Washington, D.C., federal law still prohibits the use, cultivation and sale of cannabis.
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