Just Open the Box Already

Schrodingers-cat-in a box designed by AI
Illustration: AI by Shutterstock

The cannabis industry is like Schrödinger’s cat: both legal and illegal, with its fate linked to an event that may or may not happen and the industry can’t control. Fortunately for us, we’re not sealed inside a box with a radioactive particle that could kill us. Instead, our state of being is wholly dependent on a small group of demagogues high atop Mount Washington D.C. who would rather debate the meaning and relative merits of “woke” than fix Social Security, amend the federal tax system, or prop up the country’s crumbling infrastructure. One might imagine legalizing cannabis would be much less complicated than any of those things. Yet here we are, three months into the 118th session of Congress, and we’re only slightly closer to ending prohibition than we were when the first state went rogue during the 104th.

I don’t know about you, but I’m losing patience with that do-nothing bunch of so-called leaders up yonder. At this point they’re so disorganized I’m not even sure they can be called followers with a straight face.


Lately I’ve begun to worry they’re playing havoc with the quantum universe. The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics postulates that every possible outcome actually occurs simultaneously in some parallel world, creating a multiverse in which an infnite number of realities exist in the same time and space but remain distinctly separate from and not discernible by the others. That’s why Schrödinger’s cat is both alive and dead, at least until someone opens the box. At that point the cat is frozen in one state (ante- or postmortem) in that reality. In MWI, time looks like a many-branched tree, where new realities split off at quantum events—essentially any decision or occurrence. There are realities, for example, where the Confederacy won the American Civil War, the Nazis won World War II, and Ukraine didn’t fight back when Russia invaded.

There also are realities in which the United States Congress quit playing around and ended prohibition—and there are a bunch of those realities, because a new one formed at every point Congress could have embraced reform in our reality (and every alternative reality) but didn’t.

Multiverse theory isn’t new. Greek philosophers including Democritus mulled the concept in the fifth century BCE. MWI is only a more refined version, and it’s not all that controversial as theoretical physics goes. In a way, that’s encouraging. If nothing else, MWI provides hope that our reality will win the lottery one of these days and the industry can quit lingering in this weird, Schrödinger-like limbo. This me in this reality is of the opinion that day can’t come too soon.

Kathee Brewer is the editorial director for Inc Media, the parent company of mg Magazine. An Air Force veteran and award-winning journalist, editor, and author, she lives in Austin, Texas.