Opinion Columns & Blogs

Sister Kate: We’re better off removing the ‘canna-bans’

Katherine Meeusen, who goes by the name of Sister Kate, works with the Sisters of the Valley.
Katherine Meeusen, who goes by the name of Sister Kate, works with the Sisters of the Valley. Courtesy of Katherine Meeusen

By legalizing cannabis, we allow law enforcement to fulfill its obligations to all citizens. By banning cannabis, the lawmakers ensure that industry participants are not provided with the same protection that other citizens receive.

It’s been two weeks since the cannabis ban was reaffirmed by the Merced City Council and the Sisters are about to shine a great big dual-beamed light on the Central Valley of California. One beam comes from Los Angeles, the other from London. The lights that will shine upon the Valley are going to be bright. If we are lucky, they will chase away the cockroaches of old paradigm.

These lights are actually a documentary series that (God willing) will be aired on both sides of the Atlantic.

The cannabis bans happening across California are a mega-problem, requiring a mega-solution.

They show us, once again, that government works for a few, not for all. The bans show us that our city and county lawmakers are OK with racist laws that unfairly imprison those of nonwhite ethnic origins. They show us our lawmakers’ loyalties to alcohol, tobacco and big pharma.

But there is something else, something much more insidious that happens under cannabis bans. People do not stop using cannabis medicine. They don’t stop growing cannabis. Companies do not stop serving patients. While this continues to happen, those people engaged in the production and cultivation of cannabis are at risk of being robbed. When that happens, there is no ability to call law enforcement.

It happens all the time.

I’m not talking about lifted plants. I’m talking about shenanigans that happen when the one person standing up for paying taxes and operating legitimately gets victimized by those who don’t want to play by the rules. Under a cannabis ban, where law enforcement and the courts cannot be called upon for a legal remedy, the bad guys always win. The good guys always get victimized. And there’s nothing to be done about it.

I hear the stories all the time. The woman who left her cannabis club for a sick leave, only to return to find out that her partners reorganized the entity without her, and she lost the business she put $250,000 and a decade of her life into.

Or my own story. My brother and I were operating a cannabis club in 2012. Intent on engaging in black-market deals and facing my anger when caught red-handed, he threw me out and changed the locks and kept all my belongings and money. I couldn’t call the police. I wouldn’t call the police. Just like the other woman, I had to swallow the victimization because I’m in the unfortunate business of being anti-big pharma and pro-compassion. We, and many others, have to suffer gangsterlike “bankstering” in the business because we couldn’t and can’t count on law enforcement to bring justice.

We suffer these indignities (many have suffered worse) because we know that there is no reason for cannabis being listed as a Schedule 1 drug. As such, the federal government considers it as dangerous, addictive and as sinister as heroin. That is wrong. It is a lie. And it was a result of the lobbying efforts of newspapers who want to deforest the planet, rather than use hemp for paper. It was as a result of the lobbying efforts of plastics companies that don’t want hemp to interfere in their ability to trash the planet. And, of course, it was as a result of the lobbying efforts of big pharma, who want to maintain their monopolies on health solutions.

Making cannabis a Schedule 1 drug – prohibiting research and testing – was a sin. And it is time America repents.

Whether or not anyone chooses to participate in using cannabis as a medicine is less important than knowing your community is safe. To the extent that this plant is not recognized as legal, there is a whole pocket of individuals who are not getting legal protection.

Cannabis bans don’t make communities safer. To the contrary, cannabis bans make people more vulnerable and allow criminal activities to thrive.

Katherine Meeusen, who goes by the name of Sister Kate and works with the Sisters of the Valley, wrote this for the Merced Sun-Star; contact her at sisterkate@sistersofcbd.com.