Throughout the history of the world, especially notable times in the U.S., the use of various drugs and substances have opened up room for heightened levels of conflict and aggression among government powers, citizens, law enforcement and drug cartels. The prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s led to numerous events and dynamics that people did not expect. After 13 years, it was regarded as an unwise move and the government proceeded to repeal the laws that were in effect at the time. Marijuana has been of equal, if not greater, concern over the years, and even though the nation’s view of the miracle plant has been a hotly debated topic for decades, the use of cannabis in the U.S., for medical and recreational reasons, is still appearing to make gradual progress.
Currently, the use of medical cannabis is allowed in 26 U.S. states, while recreational usage is only permitted in two states, Colorado and Washington. With Colorado being first to permit the substance recreationally, on April 20 this year, thousands of people convened in the state’s capital of Denver to celebrate with a festival. The festival-goers were excited to be able to partake in their beloved cannabis in a newly established, peaceful environment.
Despite hundreds of thousands of people across the nation who wish to use cannabis recreationally without penalty in the future, the plant’s incredibly potent characteristics in the medical field are only being restricted by laws that still prohibit its use throughout all of the U.S., and in every nation across the world. Louisiana State Senator Fred Mills, Jr. is working on legislation that will set in motion the already strong evidence that marijuana has vital medical properties.
The legislation written by Mills would allow cancer, epilepsy and glaucoma patients who are 21 or older to be administered medical cannabis in proportion to the amount that they need, and the frequency that they need it. Marijuana is also only catching more popularity among doctors who have needed to administer chemotherapy to their cancer patients, as cannabis has been documented to lessen some side effects of chemotherapy, such as vomiting and nausea. So the confusing premise remains: if cannabis is already making headway with those who are ill, and its medical allowance has only been permitted in just over half of the U.S. states, it appears that more vocalizations from citizens will have to be the primary catalyst in providing marijuana any type of progress beyond what is gradual.
Perhaps the most convincing element in this ongoing nationwide event is that the prohibition of alcohol was ineffective. Government forces, reporters and miscellaneous sources of knowledge only discovered that by preventing the sale and consumption of alcohol, the products – and consequently, profits – were falling into the hands of gangsters. Alcohol was also being consumed more, just not in public and as much behind closed doors as possible.
Throughout the U.S., doctors in the states that have not yet legalized the use of medical cannabis have been commenting on the fact that they seek hard numbers and evidence that marijuana can provide, on a consistent basis, what their patients need. Dr. David Thorson of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, is one such doctor.
Dr. Thorson mentioned that in order to feel fully prepared to administer cannabis, he needs to know “what the side-effects are, because I need to have that conversation with the patient”. It makes absolute sense that doctors want to be fully comfortable and knowledgeable in the ways of a plant that has long been solely associated with ragamuffin musicians, and sub-cultures of society that are otherwise deemed unwelcome. What does not make absolute sense is the fact that so few organizations and agencies both in and outside of the government are not working more efficiently to conduct sanctioned studies on cannabis.
The timeless saying of “knowledge is power” has hardly been truer than in the case of cannabis. People are usually limited by what they do not know, and if more studies and information can emerge on the beneficial effects of cannabis, it will be a boon for the progress of the U.S. As for Colorado, the state seems to be pulling out all the stops with legal marijuana as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra announced recently that they will be preparing for upcoming concerts that are cannabis-themed. For the marijuana enthusiast, one can only hope that this state continues to spearhead the gradual progress that cannabis appears to be making in the U.S.
Opinion By Brad Johnson