Why Marijuana Should be Legal in the US

Please note:  I am not a medical doctor, lawyer or politician.  I am an individual with a chronic health condition.  After much study, I decided that I needed to reconsider the medications I had been taking for decades; medications that were only treating the baseline of my chronic conditions.  I was shocked to know that my experienced medical doctors knew nothing about the effects of cannabis or even how to go about getting a license to try medical marijuana for their patients.  This is the post I wrote on FB after reading an article on digBoston about how people like me are taking responsibility for their own health and finally getting relief from chronic conditions.

I came across this article about people who are using medical marijuana and I thought some of my friends with chronic pain might be interested. Essentially this is what has happened to me. I found relief from chronic pain and anxiety by taking a mix of CBD and a low dose of cannabis in the form of a sativa.

Do note that the patients had to be their own advocate and find out how to get relief.

Figuring out how to diagnose and use medication is something we have always depended on from the medical community.  But now our doctors and healers are at a loss for helping us with this marvelous treatment.  This is partly because using cannabis to treat medical conditions has yet to be approved nationally and, therefore, cannot be studied legally.

Now–for once–patients are taking responsibility of their lives and bodies instead of just doing “what the doctor ordered”. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it shows the failure of traditional medicine for real medical problems.

Today’s patients suffer because they don’t have access to information on how cannabis can help them treat their problems.  They go to their doctors–who write them prescriptions for dangerous drugs–but don’t even encourage them to explore options such as cannabis.

Furthermore many patients don’t have the financial means to get access to what, I consider to be, life saving medication.  Frankly getting a medical marijuana license is expensive–probably too expensive for most of our seniors and the disabled–and many people are waiting to be able to purchase “recreational” cannabis for their medical issues.

Until patients are able to utilize cannabis for their medical problems, they face additional issues, such as the prospect of losing major benefits such as disability benefits or insurance because they want to try marijuana.

Consider that currently you have to pay $250 up front for a MML, before you can try it.  What average person has $250 to throw into a bucket on something they haven’t even tried?

And don’t forget that they have to pay that $250 every year to renew their license, because a MML is only good for 1 year.

Can you imagine being in a situation where you have to pay $250 a year just for the right to get treatment, when you already pay into your insurance policies?

Imagine, too, that in addition to paying this yearly fee, you have to pay for the full amount of the medicine, because medical marijuanas are not covered by insurance.

Don’t even get me started on the cost of some medical marijuana solutions. When only one shop sells it in your area, you have to pay what they charge.  Whereas I was paying a small monthly copay for FOUR Class 1 drugs prescribed to me, I now have to shell out hundreds of dollars on medical marijuanas.  To be clear: I used to take four Class 1 drugs, which cost me next to nothing.  I eliminated these four medications by using marijuana in their places.

Furthermore some people are scared of losing their civil rights–such as, everyone’s favorite topic, the right to carry a firearm–should they decide to go for an MML card.

I’ve asked a dozen people if you can have both a gun license AND a medical marijuana license, if you so chose to.  I’ve never received a clear answer on the matter, but the answers are leaning toward an answer of “no”.  Which means if you are say a disabled American veteran who wants to have a license to carry, you would not be able to also get your medical needs met with a legal form of marijuana.

For that matter, consider the dichotomy between obtaining a medical marijuana license and a gun license in Massachusetts. In the Commonwealth, I would only have to be 15 years old and pay $100 for a license to carry in Massachusetts.  A gun license in Massachusetts is good for six years.

But on the other hand, in order for me to get a medical marijuana license in the Commonwealth, I have to be 18 years old with a chronic or life threatening illness.  In addition, I need to prove my need for that license every year, because a MML needs to be renewed every year.

When you average the costs of having a license to carry a lethal weapon versus the ability to buy and use medical marijuana the results are astounding!  

A gun license that costs $100 and needs to be renewed every six years essentially just costs the gun owner less than $20 a year ($100 divided by six years)!  But, in order for me to have access to life saving medicine, I have to pay $250 a year.

Frankly that is absurd!

This is the intrinsic problem of not having a FEDERAL level solution to this issue.

As a Massachusetts resident who greatly values my freedoms, I had to weigh all that out before I decided to get a medical marijuana license.

Ultimately I decided I could no longer wait until my local politicians could figure out what to do about implementing the already legal sales of cannabis.

I have watched as the politicians from my city (Peabody, MA) have tried to stop the sale of recreational marijuana in my community–because of old and misinformation, poor understanding of their constituents needs and just plain stubbornness with thinking they are right.

Don’t you think it’s time for us to expect our local politicians to do their research before making a decision?  Shouldn’t we expect them to do their homework before making decisions?  Shouldn’t we expect they make decisions that are good for its citizens and based on accurate information?

I am disappointed that our mayor and almost the entire team of councilmen don’t even consider how much they are alienating their own constituents, because they are making improper assumptions, often based on their own personal opinion and not the facts.

For me, I couldn’t wait until elected officials could figure out what to do, so I did what any law abiding citizen would do: I got a medical marijuana license.

Pain relief was my motivation.

But, I ask you, should that really be the case? Should I have to pay so much more for a solution that should be easily adopted in my city?  Why would the mayor be against allowing his own citizens getting relief from their illnesses?  And furthermore, isn’t this somehow causing a moral dilemma within our community?

Personally, I think pushing away what the majority of the voters wanted, because you think you know what is best for citizens is the wrong way to govern.  It smacks of authoritarian, to be honest.  Our elected officials need to be cognizant to the fact that their livelihood was made possible by the people they govern.  They also need to understand that their positions may not be as secure as they think they are.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to lift the ban federally and do away with all the bad information and educate both our politicians and our doctors.  Allowing nationwide use would allow our doctors to treat the millions of people who seek relief from medical issues.

Why are we so afraid of giving our citizens a solution that is proven to work, but we go along with pharmaceutical companies pushing opioids and other dangerous drugs to everyone.  

Pharmaceutical companies, politicians and the medical community created this opioid crisis.  They should now step up and fix the situation.

Making marijuana legal in all 50 states will allow us to address the opioid problem and also allow us to see success with average citizens like me and the ones outlined in this article.

In summation, let me say this.   I have a chronic condition. I know many, many people with chronic conditions. Many of them can’t afford to get the treatment they need NOT because they don’t have insurance or are on welfare or whatever.  I have insurance, but insurance only wanted to give me dangerous drugs to combat my medical problems.  The answer for me was to stop taking dangerous drugs.  The answer for me was not in using alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, food or gambling to “self medicate”.

The answer, for me and many others, is cannabis.  

Cannabis is not a “gateway drug”.  The only way marijuana should be considered a “gateway drug” if you define it as a gateway to freedom from Big Pharma and dangerous prescription drugs.  So, yes, cannabis was my “gateway drug”!  It was my gateway to better health!

To our politicians–local and nationwide–the answer is to legalize marijuana–locally and nationwide.

For further proof of my argument, please read the following article about medical marijuana by digBoston:

Medical Cannabis Special: Treating Yourself article