Stepping Stone

MEDICAL CANNABIS

“A Stepping Stone to Legalization; Not for the Reason Opponents Claim” 

Regardless of what one chooses to believe about the medical cannabis movement as a whole, we must give credit to the medical cannabis community throughout this country for their hard-earned efforts and relentless dedication in fighting for patient rights. Today, 17 states including the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical use, and while only a few of these states have created safe-access for medical cannabis patients, a majority of them have yet to establish any kind of safe-access whatsoever. It’s turned into quite a contradiction, especially when patients in these legal states (mind you) have received a legal medical cannabis recommendation from a licensed physician. And why the slow progress in creating safe-access you might ask?

Well, let’s put this into perspective; under Federal law, cannabis is still deemed as illegal to use, to possess, to grow, or sell in any fashion. While this law remains in effect on a federal level, the threat of federal intimidation over states passing medical cannabis legislation will continue to carry on. This wasn’t the case in the beginning when the Obama administration openly vowed to let states govern themselves and decide on their own about the issue of medical cannabis. But while some dispensaries were completely compliant with state regulations, quite a few others were not, resulting in hundreds of dispensaries surfacing not all with the same intention of patient care. It’s that explosion of dispensaries, whether fully compliant or not, that influenced the Obama administration (only months later) to go back on their word, thus the Federal attacks on medical cannabis dispensaries began.

The medical cannabis community within these medical cannabis states have made tremendous progress as is obvious by the number of states that have passed medical cannabis legislation. But, they have also received the “negative backlash” of Federal attacks as well. It’s because of these conflicting state & federal laws to why any “common-sense” regulation for medical cannabis has not been established. It’s also the reason why patients are still at risks of prosecution and are being left to deal with the dangerous environment of a black market this “act of prohibition” is solely responsible for in creating, and empowering. It happened in the 1920s with Al Capone with alcohol prohibition. No different now!

With 17 states including D.C. legalizing cannabis for medical use, 70% of U.S. doctors supporting the legalization of medical cannabis, and the many states that have decriminalized, the level of public acceptance in regard to cannabis has indeed reached new heights with more than half of the country’s population in support of legalization. I have to say, that in this context (in the midst of confusing medical cannabis laws) is where the idea of legalization really starts to make sense. I mean, would we be any closer to legalization if all this “medical cannabis confusion” hadn’t occurred? Maybe so maybe not, but we have become aware of the ongoing contradiction that this “medical cannabis confusion” has caused within the medical community that has stood so strongly for it and continues to do so now. If we states aren’t allowed to govern ourselves, then taking it to a national level in order to gain protections for all, is the only right thing to do. Medical cannabis (in its own right) has created its own path and as medical research continues to progress, the keys to unlocking its full medicinal and therapeutic potentials will be discovered. Thus I believe (with these conflicting state and federal laws that have afflicted this movement) that it has only encouraged and enforced the public’s stance to repeal prohibition altogether. Legalization bills are already on the ballots in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

The medical and scientific research of cannabinoids and how they work within the systems of the body and brain is still at a youthful stage, but the information has always been there, it’s just we as a people have suppressed it, most particularly, from the legal and scientific end. What’s absolutely encouraging about it all is the vast amount of literature that is being produced on other systems of the body such as the endo-cannabinoid system which allows us to produce our own cannabinoids, a system that we’ve just ignored, but is just as important as our endocrine, neurological, and immune systems. Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) work as inhibitors over a lot of the systems of the brain; it interacts with all those systems and responds upon demand. For example, if a system is overly active (being upset or having too much pain), cannabinoids cause cannabis nerve fibers to produce a substance and trigger that nerve to stop firing, decreasing the intensity of the pain, so it’s quite adaptive.

While opponents of medical cannabis may want to claim or believe that one is just using the excuse of “medical necessity” to facilitate a drug habit, let me tell you, they are so far from the truth it’s ridiculous. That’s an ignorant thought that only reveals a failure to understand and a failure in even having compassion for those who are sick, for those who do suffer with chronic debilitating conditions. And there are many conditions that benefit, from Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, Cancer, to Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Pain, Cystic Fibrosis and Epilepsy; from Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, AIDS, to Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Narcotic Dependence, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome, etc. It’s a long list as there are indeed more ailments that can benefit from medical cannabis. If you don’t believe me, then just listen to the stories of not just the adults suffering from disease, but the children who are also suffering from some of these terrible diseases as well. It’s appalling to see a child suffering with a serious condition. It’s appalling to see a child not be able to get a medicine that can help (and in some cases) even save their lives all because of conflicting federal and state legalities. I mean, who is being left to suffer here? Who is being left to suffer for the government’s lack of knowledge and lack of compassion?

Cannabis can medicinally provide a better quality of life free from prescription medications that have only been proven to be more dangerous and addictive than cannabis could ever be. Too much of our current society has been greatly affected by prohibition, all walks of life, from drug-testing, to non-violent arrests, to children being taken away, to students being denied loans, to patients not having safe-access. People have always been ahead of legislators on this and are well aware of how our current economic state is making the issue of legalization only that much more viable. This isn’t about hemp, or medical marijuana, this is about protecting our rights and the fabric of our American freedoms! ~