I cannot think of one good reason for marijuana to remain a Schedule 1 substance. Not one.
And I know that the DEA has their reasons. I know that there have been committees gathered and research conducted, and I know that the DEA is actively seeking out more research on the matter, which I applaud.
But I think that it’s time for us to expedite this process a bit.
There are risks, sure. Smoking marijuana may have many of the same respiratory effects as smoking in general. It can impair one’s reaction times and, in strong doses, executive functioning, and that can make things like driving or operating machinery or making life-changing decisions dangerous. There’s a chance of psychological addiction, which comes with its set of financial, occupational, and social challenges. Some people experience paranoia, anxiety, and sadness, and a few have even reported hallucinations. Marijuana is not something to be used carelessly.
But there are risks to everything. There are risks to every single pharmaceutical drug in existence. There are risks to consuming just about any food or beverage product. There are risks to using a computer or owning a cell phone or stepping outside or wearing long clothing or breathing filtered air.
The preamble to the U.S. Constitution advocates for “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Implicit in this is the right to pursue those things that make these possible, and that means the right to make our own decisions about which risks we want to take.
Plus, marijuana. helps. people. It has been shown again and again and again and again for epilepsy and other seizure conditions, chronic pain, and appetite loss. Maybe it hasn’t met certain standards of clinical approval–which I do admit is a genuine problem from the viewpoint of scientific validity–but then neither has many other substances that are on the market.
At any rate, even if marijuana doesn’t make its way to your doctor’s office or pharmacy any time soon, is marijuana really such a danger that its possession and use warrants years of impressionist, loss of voting privilege, and difficulties in employment and housing that come with a felony?
I’ve never used marijuana because I, personally, don’t want to deal with the aforementioned legal repercussions. Now, if I were to develop, say, epilepsy, or if I were in chronic pain, I would perhaps re-evaluate this stance. As things stand now, though, it’s not worth the risk of jail-time and other consequences for me, personally.
But if it were even a bit legal, I’d give it a try.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m nearing the end of my rope. I’m self-injurious and stressed and occasionally suicidal, and while things are survivable and I have reason to believe that things may one day get better, things are not optimal at the moment.
Marijuana has shown some promise with anxiety and self-regulation. Has it been proven to be of benefit in these areas? Not yet. But there are enough personal anecdotes out there to suggest that it may be worth a try.
And a try is all that I’m asking for.
Would it necessarily work for me? Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t, and if it didn’t, I’d quit using it.
But there is a chance that marijuana would improve my quality of life, and it absolutely infuriates me that I don’t have the right to take that chance.
And I know that I’m not nearly as infuriated as are those with seizure conditions and their loved ones or as those with chronic pain, be it physical or mental, and their loved ones.
I can survive without marijuana (and have been doing so for 21+ years). There are some that cannot, or at least not with nearly as much health and happiness. There are lives in peril that could be vastly improved by this plant and its extracts.
Substances that are rendered difficult, if not impossible, for many to access.
I’m not an economist, but I dare to conjecture that we’d be financially better off with thousands of people out of jail and in the workforce, with marijuana and its hemp products available and taxed and sold widely, with growers and manufactures and small businesses making a profit and, thus, having more money to put into our economy. It works for Colorado. It works for European countries where marijuana is legal.
It can work for the United States, too.
But ultimately, this goes beyond even the immense good that came come from a much-needed jump-start to the economy. This is more than a matter of politics or personal beliefs. This is a matter of quality of life, or, in some cases, life and death itself.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The Marijuana Policy Project is an organization that is advocating and lobbying for an end to the marijuana prohibition in the United States; through this website, you can find ways to contact your elected officials and have your voice heard. There are numerous petitions circulating throughout the Internet.
However you say it, something needs to be said, and soon. For the brains racked by chronic seizures. For the soldiers and civilians with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For those with muscle disorders, for those undergoing therapy, for those with anxiety. For the worn and weary bloggers. For the people who just want to live their lives and make their own choices.
For the people.