Changes in the New Year

As Vietnam faded behind me and I grew my hair and tried to rejoin the human race, marijuana was a whole ‘nother thing than it is today. I watched friends shipped off to prison for lengthy sentences, felonies now making their lives a lot harder than they needed to be. Yet today there are marijuana pharmacies open in Colorado and my state, Washington, is set to announce how it will permit the distribution of the venerable herb. More and more states are lining up to legalize marijuana, in spite of the fact that the federal government still classifies it as a controlled substance, unlawful to possess.

But between the heady years when the Blues Image was singing Ride Captain Ride and Iron Butterfly thumped out In A Gadda Da Vida, truths about pot have been revealed that demonstrate that the demon weed isn’t the devil’s tool after all. We have discovered that marijuana is actually a powerful analgesic and anti-emetic, and has a lot of medicinal properties that can replace more harsh synthetic drugs used for pain control, stress control, and digestive issues. The vast majority of oncologists and hematologists encourage their patients to use marijuana to help alleviate the uncomfortable effects of cancer and chemotherapy, and other specialties are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Marijuana is shown to be a positive for those suffering arthritis and other bone related medical issues. It has even demonstrated value for people suffering COPD and asthma, not to mention glaucoma.

While I wouldn’t point to those who have, even doctors and nurses within the VA at the various facilities I’ve received treatment from have recommended the healing effects of marijuana, in spite of the fact that their advocacy could cost them their jobs. The VA follows the federal perspective, of course, and thus marijuana should be represented as a huge negative in spite of the results of years of research by objective facilities which clearly state the reverse being the case. But these men and women do just the opposite, literally pleading that their patients try pot for its healing effects. The vast majority of patients who do say they benefited from the effects immediately. One has to question why, if the government is supposed to reflect the will of the people, it is swimming against the stream which now shows that a clear majority believe that marijuana should be legalized; at least treated similarly to the way that alcohol products are viewed. It’s a fact that a lot of “experimentation” with pot has been done since the aforementioned rockers were crooning their tunes, and know from personal experience that marijuana isn’t at all the evil substance described in such comedic governmental propaganda films as Reefer Madness.

victorynewspaperIt has come to the point that most people, nearly sixty percent regardless of the polls sampled, believe that marijuana should be legalized without the label “medical.” That it should be available for use the same way beer, wine and spirits are. Polls of parents have found a startling majority, nearly seventy percent, would rather that their children smoke marijuana than drink alcohol if the kids are going to use one or the other. (Most parents would rather their kids do neither until they reach at least 18 years of age.) When asked about why they would prefer their children experimenting with pot rather than alcohol, the universal reply is that it’s safer. Alcohol is related to vastly more issues and problems than marijuana is.

News stories this week have been focusing on marijuana, no doubt because this is the time that the laws in the states who embraced legalization in the last election change. We’re seeing photos of people lined up in front of marijuana vendor’s stores looking not unlike people at the Apple Store on release of a new iPhone –except it would appear that a lot more people will be purchasing marijuana than smartphones.