Or blessed. The jury is not yet occupied.
Hyperosmia is an increased sense of smell. Scientists admit it is a real disease, but aren’t sure if it’s genetic or acquired. When I walk into someone’s house, my nose can immediately tell if they have a dirty layer in the sink. Or if your dog has an ear infection.
I called the police, and later the gas company, to report a telltale leak in a residence that I might pass on on my morning bike ride.
Some smells make me feel euphoric, like snow, balm and the sea. While others cause repulsion, including many perfumes and colognes and the sickly sweet pungency of marijuana.
Which worries me more lately now, as the Democrats control both houses of Congress and this year will likely repeal the federal law against marijuana which currently classifies it as a Schedule 1 substance like heroin or LSD. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said lifting the federal ban was a “priority”.
I will not deny that something needs to be done. The jumble of conflicting marijuana laws across the country is frustrating to consumers, crippling to law enforcement, detrimental to the economy, and cruel to those suffering from pain.
Currently, 15 states allow the recreational use of weeds, and 36, including Minnesota, have legalized it for medical purposes (with a recreational use bill sponsored by Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler.
But the federal ban confuses them all. For example, let’s say you live in Illinois, where recreational herbs are legal, and you have two joints (one gram) in your front shirt pocket. Or maybe you live where only non-smokable forms of cannabis are currently allowed and you have a small vial of THC oil to help relieve your ulcer pain. Well, no better person should visit the airport or attempt to get on a plane that is governed by federal law and where they may be prosecuted for criminal possession of a controlled substance. For this reason, some airports at TSA checkpoints have blue “amnesty boxes” where completely innocent travelers are better off filing the evidence before they fly.
Even if the person with the ulcer simply stays home, they are still at risk since 2018 when Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed the FBI and DEA to enforce federal law and raid a residence wherever and whenever they saw fit .
Even leaving aside the legal logistical nightmare, federal law is a formidable violation of human rights. Not only because of the history of discriminatory marijuana prosecution against people of color, but also because the law is a source of needless pain.
According to Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a professor at Harvard Medical School, cannabis has been shown to be “effective in the chronic pain that affects millions of Americans” from a long list of diseases from Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis to irritable bowel syndrome. Insomnia and PTSD.
Although the majority of states allow weeds for medical reasons, the federal ban makes every stage of growing, buying, shipping, owning, transporting, and ingesting the “controlled substance” difficult. This also makes it more expensive as licensed companies pay double the amount of tax in states where it’s legal. This is because the federal ban prohibits business deduction, according to a Rolling Stone report dated February 1, 2018.
Imagine if it were a federal crime to make or own aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen. Do you understand what I mean?
That brings me back to my nose. As a high school English teacher, I was the unofficial narcot of my school for years. Whether I had just walked into the building on a snowy December morning or was analyzing sentences on my classroom blackboard in the afternoon, the first to know when students were lit under a stairwell, in a doorway, or in a toilet. I had to stop what I was doing, ambush the perpetrators, collect their ID and take them to the disciplinary office.
Years after leaving high school, I associated the skunky smell with students coming up, dropping out, and dropping out. And I still don’t know if I’ll ever be able to separate the smell of weeds from an overwhelming sense of failure.
According to a recent poll, 70% of Americans are in favor of legalization. And for the reasons outlined above, I’m ready to join the crowd as long as the repeal of the federal ban requires states, regardless of their other regulations, to ban use by anyone under the age of 21 and to ban smoking by anyone of any age in public Places. Then I will welcome both Winkler’s and Schumer’s accounts.
Surely, underage children can still get it and smoke it. But let them be warned that someone is going to sniff them out.
David McGrath is a retired Hayward resident, English professor emeritus at the College of DuPage, Illinois, author of “South Siders,” and a frequent writer of the News Tribune Opinion page. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.