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Medical cannabis – the time is now

Medical cannabis is the active ingredient from the marijuana plant, used in a responsible way for strictly medical purposes, like treating severe pain and seizures.

Presently the well-earned stigma of “weed” prevents medical cannabis from being used as an alternative to addictive, dangerous drugs from barbiturates and opiates.

Prescription pain killers are becoming a huge menace to American society, not just because of the addictions and ruined lives following in their wake, but because of the car accidents and violence that result from their over-use and misuse.

It is now time to allow medical forms of cannabis – NOT pot/weed/ dope/ hash/ MaryJane – to be used on a strictly controlled medical basis for pain relief and controlling seizures.

The risks of medical cannabis are known to be very low, the side effects are low, while the benefits are known to be very high.  When compared to the high risks, high side-effects of current prescription painkillers, medical cannabis looks positively like a miracle wonder drug.

Anyone with a shred of compassion for others in pain wants to give them safe ways to treat their affliction.

So, what the heck is the wait?

Let’s pass Senate Bill 3 and give our fellow Pennsylvanians the medical relief they need and deserve.

And no, I am not talking about legalizing the recreational use of marijuana leaf.  Recently a supporter asked me my position on this subject, and I believe it is a generational thing, with younger people more comfortable with recreational use of marijuana than us older folks.  Growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s, I saw marijuana used and abused recreationally, and while it may not have the negative side effects of alcohol or hard drugs, it still is not a great thing to have legally at hand.

America needs fewer recreational drugs, not more, but medical cannabis is not a recreational drug, and even if it were considered a drug, it would displace many much stronger, truly dangerous drugs.  Its time has arrived.


Accepting the obvious, medical cannabis

Marijuana has a stigma earned many times over. Counter- culture anarchists tuned out with it, and lovers of American culture took note.

But here’s the obvious elephant standing in the room: Marijuana has medicinal virtues separate from its use as a recreational drug. If America routinely uses dangerous and addicting opiates for pain relief, why on earth would we not embrace using something equally as effective, maybe more so, and yet so much safer?

Medical cannabis, or medical marijuana as it is being called, can be tailor-made to treat pain, but not stoner needs. That’s neat. And it is time to embrace this technical advance, or traditional step back, as it were. Thank you, Governor Corbett, for recognizing this need. Many medical patients await effective pain mitigation, and this is it, apparently.

Side note: Like all public policy subjects, this one is also filled with ancillary issues. For example, medical-only hemp (sorry, no buzz for the tokers, no matter how much you huff n’ puff) can be easily grown nearly anywhere in America, thereby displacing medical/ drug poppy cultivation in lovely places like, say, Afghanistan.  Displacing poppy growth is  a good thing. Not supporting Afghanistan is a good thing. Supporting American agriculture is a good thing.

Yes, drugs are bad. Yes, recreational marijuana is a drug. No, promoting medical cannabis is not the same thing. It is a fact whose time has come. Let’s help people.