Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards might be all right with letting biological males prance around female locker rooms, and the former U.S. Army officer may frown upon allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms without government permission, but despite this he’s the Louisiana politician willing to stand up to Big Ganja?
Louisiana legislators seem determined to rush headlong into all but legalizing marijuana use by making medical herb so widespread and easily available in even the most detrimental and least understood forms. A House of Representatives panel last week advanced several measures that cumulatively accomplish this, despite the fact that medical research consistently has demonstrated few effective medical uses for grass, with the most recent research only compounding that trend as well as noting more definitively undesirable spillover effects, including that medical marijuana use may increase risky use of opioids. Indeed, even the nebulous claim that its use reduces pain has come under serious question.
Yet the state has flung itself into permitting its use in any form for any malady, the charge led by legislators who appear ignorant of the science and would rather rely on selective anecdotal evidence to guide their actions on this issue. Their big move this term has focused on creating more pushers, through a myriad of bills that would create more dispensaries, allow more “recommenders,” deal to out-of-state residents looking to take a hit, and even would demand curb service delivery to users.
Remarkably in all of this, Edwards has raised his hand and actually said “not so fast” to at least one measure, HB 768 by no party state Rep. Joe Marino that would expand the number of licensed distributors from 10 to 25. However, his explanation concentrates less on applying brakes to the social experiment than in a bureaucratic approach that protects existing suppliers from competition.
Edwards explained that by opening the floodgates more the trailblazers who sunk costs into starting up the distribution structure – much like Mr. Big/Kananga with his Filet of Soul restaurant chain for heroin, whom James Bond battled in Live and Let Die that prominently featured New Orleans – would receive unfair treatment by now inviting newcomers to take advantage of what they had built. Thus, he said a more appropriate vehicle to get more spliffs to more people would be something like HB 697 by Republican state Rep. Tanner Magee, whose continued outspoken advocacy of propagating blunts for all as long as you have a permission slip has made him the paler political class PG version of Superfly, which merely allows existing sellers to expand to satellite locations.
So, it would seem even this small gubernatorial squawk into the gale forces of hot air coming from Magee, Marino, and the third stooge bent on a leafier future, GOP state Rep. Larry Bagley, doesn’t really inject sanity into the issue: why is the Louisiana political class so addled into abandoning good sense to embrace cannabis so comprehensively, to the point that, besides the quasi-legalizing legislation, the leading Democrat running for the U.S. Senate this year can go all fire on the bayou as his biggest campaign issue? If Edwards won’t provide it, a more level-headed, less-foggy approach is needed on this issue from some elected officials somewhere.