Posted: 09/06/16 14:14, Edited: 09/07/16 12:27
by Dave Mindeman
OK. I am going to ask for a huge mental exercise right now.
Let's pretend that you have not been conditioned by the "drug war" mentality. Let's ignore the 50 years of negative reinforcement from law enforcement about the drug culture. Let's pretend that you have never seen a Cheech and Chong movie or think of street purchases as your context to marijuana.
Assume all of that (a lot to ask) and take an unbiased look at marijuana as a treatment venue.
In today's Star Tribune there is an article about medical marijuana being allowed as a pain treatment...starting August 1st. There has been a lot of sign-ups - much more initial sign-ups than for any of the indicated medical reasons already in the program.
Here are some relevant points to consider on marijuana - and remember we are trying to start without a biased viewpoint.
As the article states, "a recent survey of patients in Minnesota's program found that 90 percent reported some relief from the drug." That is hard to correlate to a placebo effect...or wishful thinking. That is real results.
A medical marijuana patient (Cassie Traun)...."told the lawmakers, patients, law enforcement and medical experts who make up the task force that it would cost her thousands of dollars a month to buy her medicine legally, so she has returned to buying it off the street." A legal program has much higher cost than street purchases? That is just messed up.
Medical marijuana has been legalized in half the states now, and in most of them, it's a booming industry. Legal medical and recreational marijuana sales topped $5.4 billion in 2015, according to an analysis by ArcView Group, which tracks the cannabis industry. In most states with cannabis programs, pain patients make up the bulk of the customer base.
So let's get back at our initial premise. What if we take an open eyes look at marijuana.
Look at it without a DEA that refuses to take marijuana off the restricted list and states the ridiculous reason "because it's illegal".
Let's look at it without a law enforcement history that encourages marijuana use stereotypes and only deals with the criminal elements that have the access and means to sell it on an illegal basis.
Let's look at it with the knowledge that for generations, marijuana has been in private, illegal use and few deaths have occurred from overdose or medical side effects. It would be nice to study that as a way to know for sure, but DEA restrictions won't allow for proper scientific experimentation.
Let's look at the data in Colorado...where legalization has resulted in no increase in teen marijuana use - and that since the move to legal recreational use, prices have dropped considerably and continue to do so.
When you look at all of this information, marijuana should, at the very least be no different than alcohol in societal use. And from a medical standpoint, medical marijuana needs to be readily available - and physicians need to be educated in use and benefits.
Why is this so important? In two words really - opioid deaths.
This problem is getting increased attention. Several states put it in the epidemic category. And it is not just about illegal opioids - too many deaths come at the hands of simple prescription painkillers.
We hear people say we need to do something about this - and the answer is right there - on the street and potentially in the garden. Marijuana is a less dangerous and sometimes more effective answer to that opioid problem. There is a good chance that marijuana is much less dangerous and probably less addictive.
Yeah, it probably should be heavily regulated - but Minnesota's medical marijuana is too restrictive, too timid, and too costly.
Get beyond the Doritos joke or the 60's image of bongs and headbands and stoners.
Marijuana is a real potential solution to a troubling societal problem.
Get over those Cheech and Chong movies - please.