In the later part of the 20th century, the young lawyer Keith Stroup, a key member of NORML, succeeded in influencing ten states to ease their marijuana laws. He hasn't stopped working on the other forty, where every day you smoke, you are threatened with jail. At a NORML conference, there was plenty of smoke. Hash, grass, pipes, joints, and a lot of proud homegrown, was brazenly passed in every direction, over lunch, over dinner, at the plenary sessions, in the corridors, in the public rooms, even to the hotel help.
I was talking to my good friend "the worm," whom I met because he was working as the worm in the bottom of the Mexican tequila bottles from which I was liberally drinking when they came in. I knew right away that they were Americans, not because that's the only clientele that this sleazy tourist trap just over the border gets, although it is, but because they had University of Southern California written all over their faces. And all over their T-shirts.
Unbelievable. It was right there on the radio, coming at you with 50,000 watts of power over every major AM station in the country. It was called "White Rabbit," and not only was there an assortment of LSD-laced lyrics about Alice in Wonderland and hallucinatory mushrooms, pinned by a refrain of "feed your head" bombarding you from the car radio everywhere you went, but the song was actually beautiful—a compelling melody with fascinating bass and guitar lines, the first of something they were calling the "San Francisco sound" that had psychedelics written into every quarter note. And God, could Grace Slick sing!
The original stoner duo, successful beyond their wildest weed dreams, iconic comedy duo Cheech & Chong achieved cult status by defining an era with their funny, insane, irreverent, counter-culture, no-holds-barred satirical comedy routines. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong’s amazing success was more fate than plan. They ended up in the right place at the right moment. In their own marijuana infused words, phenomenal success began with stand up comedy which led to hit comedy albums, hit films, shattering comedy album sales and breaking box office records. Their stunningly successful streak in comedy albums transitioned to films in 1978 with their first movie, “Up In Smoke,” the biggest comedy-hit of 1978, grossing over $100 million at the box office.
The marijuana you smoke may already be legal, if courts listen to the most current botanical information, the argument goes like this. By present federal law, marijuana is defined as one particular plant species: Cannabis sativa, identified by Linnaeus in 1753. According to the best botanical research now available, however, there are several other species of cannabis. Among the species accepted by other governments and botanists around the world are Cannabis indica, classified by Lamarck in 1783, and Cannabis ruderalis, established by the Russian botanist Janischewsky in 1924. When a whole, mature plant is available for inspection, botanists can with some assurance identify the species to which it belongs, but when the plant is chopped up, dried, cleaned, and popped into a baggie ready to be blazed, it is impossible to tell which species it is. Therefore the government, when it busts you for a lid, cannot prove that what you possess is in fact the forbidden species Cannabis sativa and not one of the others; the government can't prove that the weed you have is illegal.
The federal government is still adamant about withholding country wide legalization, yet states around the country are hacking away at marijuana restrictions which benefit local economies. Colorado and Washington are the only two states so far to pass voter proposals of fully legalizing marijuana for recreational use and even with certain stipulations in the law in place, the rewards have been ample. Colorado is collecting huge amounts in tax revenues since sales started in the beginning of 2015. Washington, on the other hand, has not executed and utilized the laws as well as Colorado, but is still predicted to have similar rewards over time. Regardless of the differences in the industries and laws of all 50 states, medical marijuana dispensaries, the donation system, and collective gardens all work the same. This will be a short transitional period. Colorado is single-handedly rebuilding its educational system with marijuana tax surpluses.