Researchers, growers, physicians, entrepreneurs, and investors…the typical components of any cannabis conference these days and CannaTech Panama is no different — except for the the two former DEA agents.
Charles Feldman and Matt Murphy surprised the crowd with their folksy tale of conversion during the late afternoon of CannaTech’s first day. They were greeted cautiously but without rancor. The applause on their exit was much warmer. Perhaps it was Matt Murphy’s characterization of drug giants like Purdue Pharma (manufacturer of OxyContin) as “drug cartels in suits” that did the trick.
The appearance of the retired agents did highlight the extraordinary expansion and evolution of the cannabis issue. In a time when the former Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives (John Boehner) has become a spokesperson for a cannabis investment company perhaps it shouldn’t really be surprising that former drug agents are also joining the club. But it was. To this observer anyway. It underscores the absolute sense of certainty with respect to cannabis that marks the CannaTech events: The war is over.
But, to stretch the metaphor, we all know that the end of a war brings the wounded home and, let’s face it, on the home front — no matter what nation you happen to live in — there are still many patients with serious problems who need cannabis now. These meetings are a wonderful testament to the power of cannabis and the almighty dollar, but at the end of the day there are still too many patients who cannot access cannabis easily or at all. I’m glad that Matt and Charles have seen the light, but I wish their former agency would abandon the charade of cannabis having no accepted medical value. That will really mark the end of America’s longest war, the War on Drugs. ❖