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The debate on whether cannabis ought to be legalized has been going on for quite a few years, but with Attorney General Jeff Session’s obvious obsession with the prohibition of marijuana at the federal level, the topic is on the front-burner once again.
Now, whether you’re for or against cannabis, there are plenty of pros that should not be ignored – not to mention the widespread support for its legalization, with about 64 percent of the population in favor. As it stands now, at the federal level, the law gives the government permission to make the growing, selling, or possession of marijuana illegal. However, back when Obama was President, a policy was signed that allowed individual states to legalize marijuana despite federal law prohibiting it. Essentially, this meant that the federal government agreed to NOT get involved, and left it up to each state.
Currently, Jeff Sessions is out to end that sort of policy, encouraging U.S. Attorneys to enforce the federal laws against marijuana use in every state, regardless of whether state laws have already legalized it. Of course, there are those in Congress that are privy to stop Sessions’ agenda to limit the states’ decision making, and many believe they will. Still, concerned citizens – especially those who use medical marijuana for health benefits – are a bit on edge these days, hoping that their state remains pro-legalization. But all politics aside, we cannot ignore the widespread support of 64 percent of Americans who desire the legalization of marijuana. In fact, marijuana use is legal in some form in 29 states and the District of Columbia, with California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts being the most recent states legalizing recreational marijuana. Out of those 29 states, 13 only allow the use of medical marijuana. 2018 will be a pivotal year in the marijuana movement, with at least 12 additional states considering legalization.
One of the biggest pros of medical marijuana is its ability to decrease pain, helping potentially millions of people, including those with AIDS, glaucoma, cancer patients and those with chronic pain conditions. With one in three Americans living with a chronic pain condition, and the growing opioid epidemic, the medicinal effects of marijuana simply cannot be ignored. Let’s also note how the prisons are overflowing, and the legalization of marijuana could help free them up some, and reduce the awful violence that occurs at the borders of America and Mexico. And how can you scoff at the thought of marijuana being illegal, but regularly support the legalization of alcohol and tobacco, which have ZERO medicinal weight and are HIGHLY addictive? In fact, tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. Alcohol is third, with almost 90,000 people dying every year from alcohol-related causes. The number of people who died from marijuana overdose in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control was zero. Now, we’re talking medicinal grade marijuana, and not synthetic marijuana, which could be lased with very harmful and deadly ingredients. In fact, medicinal marijuana seems to helping with the alarming opioid epidemic that’s going on across the nation.
A JAMA Internal Medicine study led by Dr. Marcus A. Bachhuber in 2014 found that in one decade, from 1999 to 2010, states where medical marijuana were legal, opioid use deaths decreased after the legalization of cannabis – by almost 25 percent! With marijuana being much less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, bringing medicinal benefits for many, and bringing tax revenue and job growth, federal support of the legalization of marijuana is essential.
It’s time to stop focusing on an outdated stigma of the herb, and rather, focus on the medicinal benefits.
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