(WATCH) The United States of Weed

A majority of Americans now have access to some form of legal marijuana. A recent Gallup poll finds more than two in three people support legalizing marijuana. But what you may not know is: pot is only legal in their state. It’s not legal as far as the federal government is concerned. Today, with so many Americans getting high on weed, our cover story examines the radical conflict in laws and the prospect of a national measure to legalize cannabis.

Inside Denver’s Simply Pure Dispensary is a pot shop that’s as much a political cause as it is a business.

For Wanda James, this destination was decades in the making, after stints as a naval officer, restaurant owner, and one of Colorado’s largest campaign fundraisers for President Obama.

Wanda James: My brother was arrested for four ounces of weed when he was 17 years old. And it cost him 10 years of his life in the police system and the law system. My brother was the first person I’d ever met that had actually been arrested and done time for cannabis.

Years after her bother Rick served six years of a ten year sentence behind bars, a national rethinking of cannabis laws has turned the pot dynamic on its head, and opened the door for James to become America’s first black owner of a legal marijuana shop.

James: I never dreamt that we would ever be selling cannabis because obviously, 10 years ago you would have been a drug dealer if you were doing this without the laws that are in place.

Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana with a vote in 2012. Today, it’s legal to light up in 18 states Guam, and Washington D.C. As the movement grows, many are left dazed and confused by the conflict between federal and state laws.

Sharyl (on-camera): Here in Colorado like other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, they’re committing crimes and violating federal law every day. It’s just that the Feds have made a decision not to enforce the law in these states.

Under federal law, marijuana is an illegal schedule 1 drug, same as heroin and LSD. That means there’s supposedly a high potential for abuse or harm, and no accepted medical use.

President Obama got the feds out of the business of enforcing many pot laws in states that legalized marijuana. President Trump tried to reverse that. Under President Biden, it’s back to looking the other way.

Merrick Garland/Attorney General (May 4): The department’s view on marijuana use is that enforcement against use is not a good use of our resources.

But pot business owners like James are far from satisfied. Under the current setup, pot business are denied federal tax deductions, while the IRS is more than happy to collect income taxes from them.

Sharyl: The federal government, in terms of revenue or penalty, treats you like a drug dealer?

James: Yes.

Sharyl: While the state says what you’re doing is a tax-generating business?

James: Yes. And to be honest with you, the United States government, they have been the biggest drug dealer in cannabis per se, because they’ve made the most money out of anybody. So, if you can imagine, all of the billions that California sold last year, all of the billions that Colorado sold, Illinois and the other 17 states that are currently selling cannabis, 40 to 80% of all of that income, goes to the federal government.

Sharyl: So, at the end of the year, do you have to file that on your taxes? Or how does that work?

James: Yeah. Every April 15th, we file our income statement and our taxes with the feds and we write them a very very hefty check with lots and lots and lots of zeros.

A recent court challenge to the tax arrangement— failed. But conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas used the case to criticize what he called the federal government’s “half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana” adding “A prohibition on on intrastate use or cultivation of marijuana may no longer be necessary or proper to support the Federal Government’s piecemeal approach.”

If Thomas is foreshadowing what’s to come, Colorado marijuana regulator Dominque Mendiola hopes the Boulder State will serve as a model.

Dominique Mendiola: We are working with other states, our counterparts in other states to identify opportunities for alignment. And also really looking at it through the lens of how can we set up a framework collaboratively with all our stakeholders and with all the subject matter expertise in a way that we are essentially creating this framework that could be the federal framework.

A proposed law to ultimately legalize pot was put on the table in July by the Democrats’ Senate leader Chuck Schumer.

Senator Chuck Schumer (July 14): This is monumental because, at long last, we are taking steps in the Senate to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs. I was the first Democratic leader to come out for the legalization of marijuana, and I will use my clout as majority leader to make this a priority in the Senate.

Still, national legalization is considered a long shot. President Biden has proven to be a downer to pot advocates, stopping short of backing legalization.

James: The fact that the Biden administration is having issues with it, is really upsetting to me. I’m somebody that had supported Kamala Harris when she was running for president. So, I was thrilled to see her in the VP position. But sadly, we’re not seeing the administration push for these sweeping reforms that need to have happened.

More opposition comes from the powerful pharmaceutical industry, which has likely noted reports of far fewer prescriptions for pain and anxiety where there’s legal marijuana.

Cannabis critics also point to the robust illicit market in states where pot is legal. Black market pot isn’t taxed and is far cheaper. Washington D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee says that’s added to crime.

Police Chief Contee (July 23): When you have something where people get high reward – they can make a lot of money by selling illegal marijuana and the risk is low, the risk for accountability is very low. That creates a very, very, very bad situation, because those individuals get robbed. Those individuals get shot at. Those individuals get involved in disputes all across our city.

Nancy Lantz: The other part is that a lot of people using the marijuana also were self-medicating and ended up being homeless. So we ended up with a large homeless population here in Colorado

Denver addiction specialist Nancy Lantz links legal marijuana to Colorado’s exploding homeless crisis.

Lantz: For some of the population, it’s not going to affect them, just like drugs or alcohol. There’s a population who can drink and also do some marijuana without a downside. But for that percentage that it is going to, it just increases their mental illnesses.

Sharyl: What’s your advice about that if marijuana is legal and here to stay and expanding to other states?

Lantz: Do you know— the more that it expands, the bigger the problem becomes?

James brushes aside the criticism saying it lacks proof. And many join her in saying it’s only a matter of time before America feeds a national craving.

James: My takeaway on the legal cannabis business is, we can’t get to legalization fast enough.

As for Rick, the brother who went to prison as a teenager, he’s now said to be making an honest living off the plant that once cost him his freedom.

Sharyl: May I ask what your brother’s doing today?

James: Yeah. My brother runs my grow facility, which is really amazing because, for everything that he went through at a very young age, he came out of it. An amazingly joyful person with a big heart and he still loves this industry.

Sharyl (on-camera): Colorado governor Jared Polis has mass pardoned more than 2,700 people convicted of minor pot possession. None were in jail at the time— but the governor said too many Coloradans have been followed their entire lives by a conviction for something that’s no longer a crime.



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15 thoughts on “(WATCH) The United States of Weed”

    1. Ted,

      My below response to pro-legalization folks,
      such as yourself, was posted elsewhere
      in Sharyl’s Pages (( edited here for brevity and
      better clarity )) :
      After legalization of booze, one finds it difficult to
      calculate/reveal the horrendous suffering resulting
      from that Devil’s Fire Water—the murders, rapes,
      lawlessness, broken families, and psychologically
      damaged society.

      It had been women ( Family-Oriented Feminists ) who
      fought drugstores and bars dispensing substances
      harming, maiming, killing of husbands’/brothers’/sons’
      health and will to work—the will to support his family
      and church and community, as wives/mothers/sisters/
      grandmothers and City Fathers grew tired of stepping
      over the bodies left in a doped-up or boozed-up
      STUPOR, outside those Drug-Pushing businesses.

      So, now, to further destroy this once-Civil/-Christian
      America ( the West ! ), those PROFOUNDLY stupid
      adults – those Soros-pushed/-seduced among us –
      want :

      national legalization of a very harmful psychotropic

      drug, which causes PSYCHOSIS later in life—for those

      having had begun using it as teen-agers (( it lowers

      IQ, causes impotence in males, and makes of the user

      a D O P E-head ! )).

      As pharmacological expert and talk-show host Michael
      Savage always replies, whenever anyone suggests legal-
      ization :

      “Why do you think they call it, ‘Dope‘—You DOPE ! ?”

      As I had mentioned somewhere else in Sharyl’s Pages :

      “America has become the
      evil community depicted in
      ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’—after
      George successfully suicides
      off that bridge” :

      Anything-Goes Sexuality,
      and . . . the list goes on
      and on !


      1. Rick, please read carefully. I do not support legalization. I support decriminalization.

        Also, your poorly formatted refer madness rant is devoid of facts, reason, or substance.

        The fact is that there were far more deaths and violence when alcohol was prohibited.

        What it all comes down to is: my body, my choice. I get to decide what I put in my body. Not you. Not anyone else.

        1. Not sticking up for Rick, but I do find it humorous that you call his comments “devoid of facts”. And then you claim, “far more deaths and violence when alcohol was prohibited.” Please sight your source to prove this statement. I say it can;t be done.

          1. It is a fact. My comment is not “devoid of facts.” I didn’t *source* this well known fact, which is not the same. The following are just a few sources that show that prohibition lead to more deaths and violence.


            1. Stasista: Suicide and homicide rate changes during Prohibition (1920-1933) in the United States from 1900 to 1950 (rate per 100,000 people)

            Suicide and homicide rate both increased drastically during Prohibition and dropped sharply after repeal. The homicide rate increased 78 percent over the pre-Prohibition period.

            2. JA Miron, Violence and the U.S. prohibitions of drugs and alcohol, American Law and Economics Review, Volume 1, Issue 1, January 1999, Pages 78–114

            “The results document that increases in enforcement of drug and alcohol prohibition have been associated with increases in the homicide rate, and auxiliary evidence suggests this positive correlation reflects a causal effect of prohibition enforcement on homicide. Controlling for other potential determinants of the homicide rate does not alter the conclusion that drug and alcohol prohibition have substantially raised the homicide rate in the U.S. over much of the past 100 years.”

            3. Prohibition, Alcohol, and Murder: Untangling Countervailing Mechanisms
            GARY F. JENSEN

            “Prohibition is a significant positive correlate of homicide rates”

            4. National Archives: Prohibition and the Rise of the American Gangster
            January 17, 2012 By Hparkins

            “As organized crime syndicates grew throughout the Prohibition era, territorial disputes often transformed America’s cities into violent battlegrounds. Homicides, burglaries, and assaults consequently increased significantly between 1920 and 1933.”

          2. Rick and Ted,

            Word-search, in DuckDuckGo dot Com (( can’t get the URL )) :

            “Singapore’s Drug Laws: Possession, Consumption and Trafficking”

            Singapore knows how to WAR against drug pushers/users,
            unlike the U.S.—as she’s always just PLAYED at controlling
            nation-destroying drugs ( partly : blame CIA interests in
            making war/profit/war/profit/—power and control ).

            Pre-Prohibition homicide/suicide rates were very high
            B E C A U S E of booze/drugs being freely dispensed—

            After ending Prohibition :

            MSM, BOOZE Industries, and
            the BANKSTERS had an interest
            in keeping the massive profits
            growing—and the aftermath of
            legalization well-hidden/SECRET !

            Booze-Profiteers have COOKED the BOOKS every decade
            since, as is done today with crime statistics—to coverup
            rising crime from Line-Cutter invaders crossing our borders
            ( Identity Theft is MOSTLY done by illegals, refugees, and
            Visa overstays ).


  1. Thomas Joseph Hussman

    A sort of “Pont Saint Esprit” was going on a few steps away from the current residence of the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court beginning in the 1950s. Yes, it’s true – the horrific government sponsored LSD tests known as MK/Ultra was alive and well before cannabis was an issue. Was cannabis a secret antidote to the government’s creation of Lysergic Acid? You decide. Attention University of Minnesota – You have some responsibility here too. The subject of government responsibility in the ridiculous experiments is summed up quite well by the ever so insolent remarks by one adult male who never went to prison known as GEORGE HUNTER WHITE. GEORGE HUNTER WHITE was a government employee who loved his work. “Where else could a red blooded American boy lie, cheat, steal, rape and pillage with the sanctions and blessing of the All-Highest.” George Hunter White – US Bureau of Narcotics.

  2. Thomas Joseph Hussman

    I want to believe that ROBERT VERN LASHBROOK truly repented. Even so, his repentance will never breathe life back into the body of FRANK OLSON. OLSON met his fate with the assistance of one of the strangest and elusive characters known – PIERRE LAFITTE. Was the door left open that night in New York at the Statler hotel? Or had the now repented Mr. Lashbrook provided Mr. Lafitte with a key? We will never know. One this is certain – The USA Federal Government has a great deal of explaining to do. The cover-up has failed. But the memory lives on and on, past the life of HP Albarelli. The one hundred thousand dollars paid to the OLSON family is an embarrassing low figure to pay, but President Gerald Ford’s conscience was most certainly provided with some solace, at least until he met his maker.

    1. Well, Thomas Joseph Hussman, you’re getting
      dangerously DEEP into some treacherous WEEDS.

      Have you studied any of these
      DEEP-In-The-WEEDS books ? :

      Study this book:

      Study this book:

      Study this book:

      Study this book:
      [ word-search, “Dr. Mary’s Monkey” in
      Amazon—link won’t register as active ] :

      Study this book:

      Study this book:

      Study this book:
      [[ learn in here why Cooper was assassinated, as he
      had printed a unique Tribal document—the Deep
      State protects from exposure ]]

      Study these two book:
      [ Amazon had carried these, but now censors their sale;
      and regarding the second one, simply search index for
      “National Security Agency,” and study those pages—to
      learn of that Orchestrating Conductor of America’s
      steep moral/cultural/financial decline ] :

      —JFK-9/11: 50 Years of Deep State
      by Laurent Guyénot

      “JFK-9/11 assembles the most significant and well-documented ‘deep events’ of the last fifty years into a coherent narrative of the “deep history” of the United States and its sphere of influence. The result is both a concise introduction for newcomers (a ‘deep history for dummies’), and an insightful perspective for informed readers.”

      —Cracking the Bible Code
      by Jeffrey Satinover

      “The discovery that precise, descriptions of earth-shaking events seem to be encoded into the first five books of the Bible has captured the world’s attention. No one in ancient times could have had such knowledge, but if no individual put the codes there, who did? If the codes are proven to be genuine, they would be tantamount to scientific proof of the existence of God.”


      1. Thomas Joseph Hussman

        Rick- Thankyou for the sources. I interviewed Albarelli about 20 times before he stressed out and died. I witnessed first hand the transfer of a large suitcase from the Minneapolis DEA SAC to Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, at a downtown Minneapolis cop party, attended by Minneapolis cops and Feds too. The arrogant Aquino burned his tires as he fled the scene of that crime, driving a black armored Lincoln Continental. At age 4 I was taken to an address in Minneapolis where I was introduced to “Mr. Detrick” who performed the first tests on me. My father was murdered, and my two infant brothers died strange deaths. Blah Blah Blah… I have no fear left…it’s gone. They won.

        1. Thomas,

          Yeah, I was in Omaha, working part time
          for SAC, as a courier—when satanists
          began spreading throughout Air Force
          bases—in the early 70s.

          You ought to buy and study Robert A,
          Monroe’s book, “Journeys Out of the
          Body,” then appeal to, say, Good Angels
          on the other side of the veil.

          The late Robert Monroe was a friend.


  3. James: The fact that the Biden administration is having issues with it, is really upsetting to me. I’m somebody that had supported Kamala Harris when she was running for president. So, I was thrilled to see her in the VP position. But sadly, we’re not seeing the administration push for these sweeping reforms that need to have happened. Well isn`t she fricken stupid!


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