Turn Over A New Leaf: Why It Matters

At the beginning of 2019, the city of Denver rolled out a new initiative entitled the “Turn Over A New Leaf” program. From the city website, the program aims to overturn any low-level cannabis offense committed in Denver. This includes possession of less than 1 ounce of cannabis, and cases involving hemp, paraphernalia, or infused products. Since the 4th of July is upon us and is of course focused on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I thought it would be a good time to talk to this program and why it matters to people. 

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Failed War on Drugs

It’s no secret that the American public feels as though the so-called “War on Drugs” was a huge failure. With public opinion on cannabis constantly on the rise, it’s clear that times are changing. Additionally, these policies have cost American citizens billions of tax dollars between police resources, court proceedings, and incarceration. And while legalization is an important first step, if we as a country truly want to move on from the War on Drugs, it’s important to also include compassion for those who were victims of a failed era, as well as stop the cash hemorrhage. 

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Social Justice

It’s also no secret that people of color are disproportionately targeted and charged with these sort of convictions. Now that a legal market is emerging for cannabis, wealthy investors are poised to make millions for doing the same thing that generations of people of color have been locked up for. This is egregious, and must be made up for. The Turn Over a New Leaf program is a good step in the right direction for the city of Denver. While I could list facts all day about how the War on Drugs has disproportionately affected people of color, I’ll leave you with a link to the Drug Policy Alliance’s page on race and the War on Drugs: http://www.drugpolicy.org/issues/race-and-drug-war 

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Ethics

I really think it’s worth repeating that now that a legal market is emerging, investors are making big bucks for the same thing folks have been locked up decades for. It’s only ethical to allow those convicted to right their past mistakes, and have a chance in the market. Many of these people would be valuable additions to the cannabis industry, but are instead left out because of antiquated laws and minor charges. These people should have their freedom, and should be allowed to participate in the normalization of cannabis we are all now benefiting from. 

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How to Participate

According to the City of Denver’s website, people who have committed low-level offenses within the city of Denver are eligible. If you are unsure whether you would qualify, the city hosts clinics with volunteer lawyers to help. I’ve also linked the webpage, which will lead you to resources as well as the application. https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-marijuana-information/DenverMarijuanaEquityandSocialJustice/TurnOverANewLeafProgram.html

~written by Melinda Gardner~

Plant-Based Decriminalization

There is a new day dawning for plant based medicines, friends. The conversation around cannabis and psychedelics has changed vastly in the last decade, and the elections of 2019 have proven it. On May 7th, 2019 the city of Denver voted to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, and on June 5th, 2019 the city of Oakland took it one step further, decriminalizing all plant-based entheogens. But what does that mean for these cities? And what now?

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Denver

In Denver’s case, psilocybin mushrooms have been decriminalized. While this does not mean psilocybin can be found in your neighborhood dispensary and it is still illegal to distribute them, it does mean that psilocybin becomes a low priority issue for law enforcement. They cannot arrest anyone (over the age of 21) for personal possession, consumption, or growth of psilocybin; it also prohibits city funds from being accessed to prosecute such cases.

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Oakland

As for Oakland, they took it one step further than the city of Denver. The voters approved the decriminalization of all plant-based entheogens, which isn’t just limited to psilocybin. This includes mescaline, ayahuasca, dimethyltryptamine as well as a few others. Basically, if it comes from a plant, you can’t get arrested in Oakland for it, and, like in Denver, law enforcement cannot use city funds to prosecute folks 21+ for possession, use or cultivation.

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What now?

So what now? Does this mean magic mushies will be legal soon? In short, no. While Denver and Oakland could in the future decide to put legalization on the ballot, in my opinion, what happens now is a steady paradigm shift in how we view these substances. The consensus around the country in recent years has been that the war on drugs was a failure, and with more and more clinical research being done, as well as powerful anecdotes coming out, public opinion is changing. The very fact that these initiatives not only made it on the ballot in the first place, but passed the first time, is a very good indicator of this. Now that these cities have broken the initial barrier, I think by the end of the summer we’re going to hear about a multitude more cities putting these kinds of initiatives on the ballot. And come next November, I think national conversation on psychedelics will steadily start to become the norm. Colorado and California obviously have unmistakable voting power, and the fact that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a bill to increase federal research of both cannabis and psilocybin last week is very telling of that. The times, they are a-changin’.

~written by Melinda Gardner~

Minimalism’s Victory over a Heady Culture

In the new markets, we are no strangers to change: Brands are constantly arising, clashing, and changing. New products hit the market nearly by the week and business owners are forming tighter bonds with their demographics, at least those thriving in the industry.

Continue reading “Minimalism’s Victory over a Heady Culture”