The federal government recently refused to reclassify cannabis, stating it still hasn’t been proven to have medical value. Of course, it’s a tough thing to prove when the government allows very limited research on the subject. And to be honest, even if they do reclassify it, we don’t much care anymore. We want full legalization, even though neither Alex’s mother nor myself use cannabis. Why?
Simple: recreational use just doesn’t matter. If somebody really and truly wastes their life feeding an addiction all day every day, that’s up to them, and chances are they’re already doing it. Maybe with illegal pot, maybe with legal alternatives like alcohol. Maybe with something totally unrelated like video games, internet porn, or whatever. But pot itself isn’t the problem with people like this – it’s about as addictive as caffeine. Only a handful of people will actually abuse pot to the point of it affecting their daily lives.
And heck, I’d rather see a bunch of people throwing their lives away to pot than alcohol. At least the high folks are fairly safe to be around.
Additionally, in places where cannabis has been legalized or decriminalized, use hasn’t skyrocketed. Depending on your source, you can find “proof” that use has gone up or that it’s gone down, but no studies even hint that the more 420-friendly nations have had concerning societal problems due to cannabis being more available and accepted.
So if we accept that recreational use is no big deal, then we still have one question: why not just be happy with medical cannabis laws?
- The federal government is full of SHIT on this issue and won’t allow cannabis to be rescheduled, so medical laws are still at odds with the federal government – which means places like Alex’s home can cite federal law to avoid dosing a person who could truly benefit.
- Along the same lines, the government will push fake therapies on us like Marinol: a synthetic, pure THC pill which costs MORE than black-market cannabis, and lacks CBD, CBN, and other extremely beneficial cannabinoids! THC by itself is just unpleasant from what I’ve heard, and even the super-high-THC strains of cannabis still have some amount of the other cannabinoids. To put it another way, if nature offers us the whole plant, the government has no right to try and push synthetics that only have one small piece of that plant unless very clear and obvious evidence shows the other components are dangerous. (So far, the only cannabinoid anybody is actually afraid of is THC, and this plant has been with us since the dawn of man)
- Medical cannabis laws have been considered a joke by so many that some states are really cracking down – deciding who is “sick enough” to get medical cannabis. Even here in Oregon, we couldn’t have gotten Alex on the OMMP (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program) without his seizure disorder. Intense self-injurious behaviors wouldn’t be enough.
- In states where cannabis is now legal, a person in need can get a small amount of cannabis from a friend (or in CO grow their own) and try it THAT VERY DAY. We didn’t have that option – it took weeks to get an appointment, get approval from the doctor, and get a dose to try out. It’s impossible to say for sure, but we feel those weeks could have made a huge difference in terms of figuring out the right strain and dosing if we’d had better options like somebody in CO might have.
- We’ve given the government time to accept medical use, and they keep saying, “hell no”. Full legalization in CO and WA has forced a new conversation to take place, and the more states that force this conversation, the more likely kids like Alex will have a new option.
So whether it’s 2014 or 2016, if you live in a state that puts legalization on the ballot, please remember that legalizing can be of tremendous value to medical users, especially in states where medical laws are jumbled and confusing, or where patients are left with almost no guidance on the issue.
And for the skeptics: you pay for a pee test and I’ll take it. A few people somehow actually think Alex’s story is a front to get me high. It’s appalling, but I guess that’s what happens with nearly a century of propaganda against cannabis.