Last month, the state announced that the next phase of Maryland's medicinal marijuana program will be delayed because too many people applied for a license to grow, dispense, or process marijuana and it just backed the whole thing up. Because 882 Maryland businesses applied, the preliminary approval of licenses got pushed into the middle of January and with that, all of the other machinations to move our state one step closer to full-stop legalization got pushed back (the new medical cannabis law is an improvement on an old one that provided an "affirmative defense" for patients but didn't decriminalize weed; we now also have a bill that decriminalized weed though it doesn't go far enough because these laws never do).
The plan was to have dispensaries ready by the end of next year. That probably won't happen now (also last week, Hannah Byron, the executive director of the Maryland medical marijuana commission stepped down). That a potentially burgeoning business, one that could really revolutionize the American economy and also help sick people, has been delayed is, as we noted in our City Paper Power Rankings a few weeks ago, "not only unacceptable, but insulting." Look at it this way: The state is delaying the arrival of medicine to people whose lives could be significantly better if they had access to this medicine. Why not just put more resources into it right now? Because it's pot and it's stigmatized. Because if this were not marijuana—a plant made illegal in the first place about one hundred years ago, mostly as a way for the state to enforce racist, anti-immigrant sentiments—but some other form of medicine, I just don't think the state would be slacking so hard about getting its shit together.
I've been thinking about this bureaucratic choke job quite a bit lately because over the past few weeks I've been smoking a lot of Romulan, a powerful and well-known strain of medicinal marijuana, and it has really helped me out. Romulan—which is, yes, named after a race of aliens from Star Trek—has more of a painkiller high than a weed high due to how strong it is. And along with helping with physical pain, it's useful for relieving anxiety and increasing appetite and just generally pulling one out of one's own body and mind. To be a bit gauche: If you've ever snorted heroin, it's sort of that pleasant feeling minus the whole rather loaded thing that you know, you're snorting heroin, which I would not recommend for most people the way I might recommend smoking up. I bring up heroin advisedly here by the way: H is also medicine, at least when it's put in an also-very-addictive pill form by world-fucking pharmaceutical companies.
Romulan's high is weighty, like there's a little bit of pressure holding you down, as if you're on an airplane or high up in the mountains. And it does other strange things, like it makes you hear really well—so you can hear everything so you can't hear anything, you know? Sometimes words and language stop making sense and facial expressions seem devoid of context. Also, I keep almost getting hit by cars when I walk around on it because I just keep inverting traffic light logic? Yes, Romulan can do you like that. But if you're a veteran smoker, you can power through the heavy high and use it to be more productive or just feel not as terrible and existentially alone.
For me, it has dulled the minor-key dread of depression a little bit and helped me get out and go do things. The best way I can describe depression is like this: Imagine you're walking around and it's totally dark but you've got one of those helmets with a light on the front on and that light only illuminates the most immediate few feet in front of you, and as a result, you're just always worried about what's right in front of you, just trying to take the next few steps and avoid total darkness. Anything beyond the immediate is inconceivable. So Romulan gives you a bit more light and it makes you worry less about all that surrounding darkness. It gives you a high you can take advantage of and this is just someone with workaday, sad bro problems speaking so just imagine what someone with chronic pain or someone who is dying of fucking cancer might get out of it. More people in pain—any kind of pain—should have access to Romulan. Thanks to last year's legislation, there's light at the end of the tunnel for getting this medicine to sick people—it's too bad the state is taking so long to get there.