As a non-drug user, but also as someone who has watched many others do a variety of different drugs, one thing is abundantly clear to me: Marijuana is not a dangerous drug, and it seem to have number of positive qualities. It is certainly far less dangerous than alcohol.
So why has ‘devil weed’ been at the top of governmental hit lists of illegal drugs? A number of reasons. The ambitions of one man in 1929, racism, more political machinations in the early 70s, and the sunk cost fallacy.
The origins of the war on drugs
In 1929 a man named Harry Anslinger was placed in charge of Department of Prohibition. Soon after he took up that mantle, he encountered a big challenge to the power he held: prohibition was ending. Up until this time, Anslinger was on record claiming that marijuana was harmless, but if alcohol was no longer going to be the enemy, he needed a new one.
Anslinger picked marijuana, even to the point of calling it that Spanish, read foreign and scary, name in public, to stir up fear of this heretofore harmless herb. When a young man named Victor Licata hacked his family to death in Florida, Anslinger lost no time in blaming marijuana for driving Victor into a murderous rage. Never mind that Licata was known to have mental issues and that there was no evidence at all that he had ever used marijuana. Men on crusades are frequently inconvenienced by facts – so they ignore them.
Anslinger smeared claimed that black people were habitual and dangerous users and people of latin descent as bringing the killer weed across our borders.
In the early 70s, it was Richard Nixon’s turn. Faced with hippies, war protesters, and racial strife, he needed a way to vilify those who opposed him and to throw them in jail if possible. Weed was made to order for his purposes, and the drug war he spurred into high gear has resulted in millions of destroyed lives.
The Birth of Paragon, A Company to
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Jessica VerSteeg is a former supermodel and the founder of the cannabis subscription service, AuBox. As social mores began to relax and states began to pass laws allowing possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes, VerSteeg and cofounder Rusty Deatherage saw an opportunity to get certifiably high-quality cannabis into the hands of discerning customers without the hassle and hangups of trying to get it from dispensaries or a network of friends.
The experience that VerSteeg got from running AuBox along with watching friend
and colleagues having trouble verifying the quality of a variety of medical drugs they were taking prompted her to ask if there wasn’t a better way to track quality. She wondered if the power of an immutable blockchain couldn’t be used to track product from seed to dispensary.
This, in a nutshell, is the core of the ParagonCoin – a tool to track and guarantee the quality of cannabis.
But the company she created, Paragon, is not limited to that goal. With only 26 states where cannabis is currently legal to any degree, Paragon seeks to promote cannabis legalization and become a hackspace for cannabis companies – solving the problem many such companies have of finding space due to the poor reputation cannabis has among the general public.
What Paragon is Doing
Right now Paragon is gearing up to do an ICO of it’s coin, ParagonCoin. The initial sale will begin on September 15, with a goal of raising 100 million dollars.
With this money, Paragon will buy real estate where they can set up their cannabis hacker spaces and begin the true work of developing and promoting a legal, above board, trustless cannabis economy – all based on the Paragon coin.
Once opened (projections for the first space to open are February 2018) holders of the coin will be able to vote on projects that want to enter and use these spaces, ensuring that only quality teams and solid projects get to use the centers. Teams will be able to use the coin to pay for everything from rent to snacks. Further, they will be ‘burning’ (sending coins to invalid address making them unusable) 50% of the proceeds they make from the centers, raising the value of the coins for all stakeholders.
Paragon will be encouraging teams that will work on legal issues, legalization, technical development, and new businesses ideas. And teams will be encouraged to interact and help each other to make a better future for cannabis.
ICOs are a difficult call as there have been so many of them lately that it is difficult to tell the wheat from the chaff. It is always a good idea to look at the team’s history, their stated goals, and their model for creating sustainable value for their business and token. ParagonCoin seem to be on solid footing on all these counts – but in the new Wild West of ICOs, caveat emptor.