There’s been some debate as to whether marijuana is, at $35+ billion annual revenue –the top cash crop in the United States. Here’s what we know it is: a cash crop! And we need some cash! We know that it is not a lethal substance; that is the only “drug” that is plucked from the earth and utilized in its natural, unadulterated, chemical state! We know that it is the most widely used “drug”, including internationally. We know that using marijuana doesn’t yield the same rate of negative consequences as alcohol; in fact, nothing does: date rape, rape, murder, domestic violence, buffoonery, blackouts, vehicle accidents/fatalities, overdose, jumping off of balconies and other folly-such deaths, strained relationships, job loss, liver disease, heart disease, dementia, encephalopathy, et al. We know that it was once legal. We know that slanderous propaganda, off the heels of a failed alcohol prohibition, targeted marijuana to be criminalized within, not only the justice system, but our minds. Some parents get more upset about their children using marijuana–nevermind that some of their children are already drinking– buying into the misrepresentation of marijuana as a gateway drug, when in fact, you are more likely to make a horrible decision, like trying a harder substance, while under the influence of alcohol. With alcohol, you may say or do something at any moment to destroy your life–you may become volatile. You may feel free, without limitations. You may get beer goggles and then an STD. You may get beer muscles and get your teeth knocked out. Now, there are exceptions to every rule and there are some people that can enjoy alcohol without abusing it. Still, it is the easiest and most frequently abused. Use and abuse are distinctly different. No matter how you use it, if you have more than 2 glasses you might feel bubble guts or a headache the next morning.
In the 1980’s, crack hit the US with a vengeance. Nancy Reagan declared a war on drugs, marijuana became a schedule one drug and there are people spending their lives in prison on marijuana-related charges. There are people that are getting arrested in their teens and getting 3 strikes before they hit 21 for marijuana related charges, or the ones that don’t stay in prison but have the felony on their record– the rest of their lives ruined because of this illegal, yet apparently prevalent, cash crop. I’ll discuss the racial disparity later. The point is that the United States has the largest prison population in the world, and many people are having to be subjected to prison life and cavity searches despite it being the safest, most natural substance that people are ingesting, including prescription drugs (whether being used as prescribed or abused).
Why can’t marijuana be sold just as are cigarettes? At this point, what is the point? The government can use the money from marijuana sales to fund drug awareness education. Why isn’t common sense prevailing? Everything should not boil down to insurmountable moral debates. It should be a matter of facts, irrefutable facts- non-debatable facts and when people learn the facts, they should accept them.
We see so many commercials for prescriptions to treat a variety of ailments, not all of which sound serious enough to require medical intervention. There’s a commercial that says, “opioid dependence is a real medical condition”. Apparently there was some doubt or prior confusion. So, what’s a medical condition? It’s simply a condition that requires treatment other than surgery. Those specific words are chosen in order to invoke a sense of urgency or concern. Consider that restless leg syndrome, chronic dry-eye and erectile dysfunction are also medical conditions. Not all medical conditions require medication. Many conditions could be resolved with a change in diet or lifestyle or both. The best method to combat any condition is with healthy choices. I am not suggesting that there’s no reason to take medication and that healthy lifestyle will cure mental illness, for example. I am suggesting that people pay more attention to marketing tactics and really consider whether the ‘medical condition’ is adversely impacting their daily lives.
I was delighted to see that Arianna Huffington also posted on the issue. It has come to the point that pretty much everyone meets the criteria to take one of the millions of prescription drugs available. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/opinion/diagnosis-human.html?smid=pl-share
I also came across this article that speaks to the same point, stating:
Unbiased science and clinical data has proven that culture, psychology, lifestyle, attachments, diet, hormones, toxicities, immune function, infection, gastrointestinal function are factors in depression, just as they are in most other chronic disorders. There is no single medicine that will remedy or restore each of these factors. Patients’ overall health benefits when their mood disorder is treated as part of a large whole body system and not a symptom to eradicate.