To the people expressing their voice to make it federal or state law to require all parents to vaccinate their kids, let us sit on this health issue for a moment and mix it up with a little marijuana tea bag. Sure, marijuana is being recognized by more states in the U.S. as a remedy which can be used to heal certain medical symptoms and ailments. Yet, because it is not legal according to federal law to possess marijuana in the U.S., since it is continuously classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance with no “medicinal use,” authorities still have the power to try and convict users for possessing the flowery portion of the plant which contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids, such as CBD, which has been shown to alleviate pain. One may then ask whether medical marijuana users, particularly those who are parents, should be prosecuted for choices involving health choices, including that of marijuana?
In recent articles dated in February and April, a medicinal marijuana user named Max Lorincz of Springs Lake, Michigan was charged with possessing a Schedule 1 class substance of unknown origin due to the fact that Lorincz had a smear of butane hash oil. He was arrested and charged with a two-year felony conviction, which can ultimately result in him losing custody of his five-year old son. According to FOX 17 News of West Michigan, Lorincz suffers from severe celiac disease and herniated back discs and uses medical marijuana to alleviate pain.
For starters, there is perhaps no parent in the U.S. who would want their child taken away by Child Protective Services if no imminent danger exists toward their child, or that of another one. A parent getting arrested for any reason may warrant a reason to some, but perhaps it is dependent on the types of charges being filed against that person. Should parents be prosecuted for health choices they make?
Marijuana has been studied for years, but it likely continues to face discrimination due to its profiling as a substance which alters the mind of its users. THC, one of its main components in its flowers, can be described as a psycho-active drug which can cause a person to experience temporary changes to brain activity, including bouts of euphoria, paranoia, or symptoms related to REM.
Another component of marijuana flowers include CBDs, which are known to inhibit bodily processes, including tension, nerve pain, and lack of appetite. It is primarily prescribed to patients facing anorexia, nerve tension, migraines, and debilitating diseases, such as Cancer and HIV.
Marijuana is gaining more recognition because it is a health alternative which can also be used in other measurable ways, including the use of its hemp to design fabric or fuel, its seeds to consume as a nourishing protein, and its flowers to heal and treat various medical symptoms and ailments.
In the same way that medical marijuana is a health and legal issue for its users, similar accounts can now be seen in issues involving vaccinations, and whether parents should legally be required to have their child, or children vaccinated.
Not long ago, a measles outbreak in the State of California affected 113 patients within the state and a few more located outside of California. The incident sparked a national response over the issue of vaccinations. Many social media users expressed the need for all children living in the U.S. to be vaccinated by law since reportedly, vaccines have not been proven to have any long-term, negative or debilitating effects.
Both anti-vaxxers and provaxxers debated over the hot topic about whether these so-called safety measures are necessary to ensure that the most vulnerable patients in hospitals do not catch harmful diseases, which for the most part, may have otherwise been preventable. While most people who used social media to convey their support in making it law to do so expressed it is the most logical and sensible thing to do, others made it known that a parent should be able to decide when to administer vaccinations, or avoid it entirely due to possible negative outcomes, including that of severe allergic reactions, autism, or even death.
Now, the State of California is introducing into law a requirement for all kids living in the state and attending public school to be fully vaccinated with no exempt reasons other than a severe medical condition. This means parents cannot cite religious or personal value systems as a reason to not vaccinate their child, if that child is to attend a public school. Should parents be prosecuted for making health decisions for their child?
Although it is sensible to require children to be vaccinated in a public area where they spend most of their week engaging with others, a requirement by law appears to be a gateway measure into requiring all U.S. citizens to be fully vaccinated, regardless of religious or personal values. Sure, perhaps it is in the best interest of all citizens to submit their body to a medical procedure that claims and has been proven to protect from severe diseases, but still sits under severe risks. After all, one may ask if that is what Hitler reasoned when he chose to make it law to lethally inject Jewish people for medical reasons during unfortunate incidences involving the Holocaust.
Although medical marijuana and vaccinations are different issues regarding health, it is fair to state that both issues have a major role in determining what is legally righteous and debatable. Opponents against medical marijuana may claim there is no health value and that there are various risks in consuming marijuana. These same opponents may also claim vaccinations should be required by law due to credible sources citing it is more of a necessary and preventive health measure than a risky one; yet, how many of these opponents can relate to parents who must face legal charges and prosecution if they do not, or refuse to comply? To discriminate against medical marijuana users and persons who are not vaccinated, particularly parents, is equivalent to persecuting people for their own belief system and personal health choices, a history that has been all too familiar to the U.S. and abroad.
In this day and age, and in one of the most powerful nations in the world, it is debatable whether the U.S. should charge and convict its citizens for failure to comply with federal or state law regarding a Schedule 1 controlled substance which has actually been found to have medicinal use. It is also debatable to require all citizens – specifically children – to obtain vaccinations which may prevent disease, but which may also have severe allergic reactions, and may even result in death. Health choices should ultimately be up to a parent or person, who should not be prosecuted for making such decisions.
By Liz Pimentel