In Arkansas we will have an amendment on the ballot in November for the legalizing of Medical Marijuana. There has been for years a problem with the misuse of all kinds of drugs. Pot smoking became prevalent when the baby boomers were young and rebellious. There is no doubt all the illegal drugs have caused the abusers of them to go through extreme anguish. Many lives have been ruined by the abuse of all kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal. I’ve seen up close what the abuse of drugs can do to a person. But I’ve also watched as people became addicted to different drugs and it is obvious they are just as likely to become addicted to legal drugs as they are to the illegal ones. Many of the times the abuse started with one taking a drug under the doctors instruction, just as they prescribed it. It just became the case that when it was time to stop using the drug they continued and it became a major problem in life. But how much sense is it to make all use of a drug illegal when there are good uses of it that actually do people a lot of good?
In my own life and dealing with severe chronic migraine and cluster headaches I’ve tried a huge variety of pain medication as well as just about every cure that anyone has proposed from the alternative medicine side of things. Interestingly, two of the most effective medications I ever used were taken off the market by the FDA for some reason that I never really understood. It has been known for a long time that there is an effective and powerful positive use of marijuana in that it helps with the nausea often brought on by treatment for cancer. I’ve known of several cases where a doctor would tell a patient, “I can’t prescribe the use of pot for the sickness you have but if you can get it you will get the most relief from it of anything I know of.” Since that is the case, why in the world would anyone be opposed to legalizing the use of pot for medical purposes.
Now I’m certain many won’t agree with this and will cry out that it is opening a door that will lead to all kinds of abuse of the system and people will be claiming medical problems of all kinds to obtain these prescriptions. I suspect there will indeed be some of that going on. I also know for certain that a lot of that goes on regularly with all kinds of medication. Do we take every effective pain medication off the market because some people will abuse them? Look at the number of people that abuse alcohol every day of their lives. The most abused drug of all is now and has always been alcohol. Think of the number of people that have been killed because a drunk got on the road trying to drive or how many family members have been killed or almost killed by a drunk dad or mom who didn’t know what they were doing. If there is a medical use of alcohol, I don’t think that is the use that most people are trying to accomplish. Yet where is the push to make the use of alcohol illegal?
What has having the use of pot and in many ways the use of other drugs as illegal accomplished in the world? Every time we have some crusader shouting let’s make the penalties worse for drug use so that we can stop much of it from happening many will go along with it and yet I’ve never seen the use of drugs go down as a result. What we do see is the drug culture that operates the spread of illegal drugs becomes more wide spread all the time and turf wars take place regularly in efforts to cash in on a market.
I’m not for the illicit use of drugs of any kind. But I’m not for arresting a kid who got caught smoking pot and putting them in jail to try to help the situation. How many prisons are overcrowded with people whose crime is tied to using or selling drugs? I wonder what would happen if the illegal drugs were made legal and were sold either like alcohol is in the stores or with prescriptions like most pain medication? Would it do away with the black market for such? Would it kill the gang wars that are centered around the sell of drugs? Would the legal selling of such with taxes paid on each sale help with the financial problems of the nation? I don’t know what would happen in these areas. What I do know is that what is being done now isn’t working. It hasn’t slowed the use of or sell of drugs in our society at all. It is past time to look at a different way of handling the problems.
In the mean time, for those who could be helped with pain and nausea by the legal medical use of marijuana, let’s pass the law authorizing it now. It is a small step that will do some people good. If we refuse to do anything for fear of someone abusing it, we won’t allow many of the medications that are developed all along to ever be used to help people. Just about any drug can be abused and likely is.