By Nancy Churnin
Marijuana plants grow at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center medical marijuana dispensary, which opened in 2006, on July 25, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty)
4/20 — which falls on Saturday — has been a rallying cry for supporters of legalizing marijuana since it was popularized by California teens in 1971 and once again brings up the question of whether it should be legal in Texas and in the nation.
There was a time when the country was strongly against it. Now a new national poll, released by the Pew Research Center, shows that for the first time a majority of Americans — 52% — favor legalization. Just 45% are against. Colorado and Washington have passed laws to make marijuana legal within their borders and many more states have approved it for medicinal uses. The Daily Chronic website tracks the road to its approval for for medical reasons and for overall decriminalization in other states, noting that Alaska is considering decriminalization in 2014.
Not a peep about this in Texas of course. But why not Texas? Why shouldn’t a state which is so proud of individual freedoms not grant the right for people to make their own choice about whether or not to use marijuana for medicinal or even recreational uses?
In this May 20, 2009 file photo, one-eighth-ounce bags of Blue Dream medical marijuana are shown at The Green Door dispensary in San Francisco. (AP)
As someone who has never tried or had any personal interest in marijuana, it doesn’t make any logical sense to me to make it illegal for this substance to be used for pain relief or recreation — provided it is regulated in a similar manner to alcohol or even cigarettes. You shouldn’t be driving under the influence or do anything that would put anyone in danger. And businesses should have a perfect right to a smoke-free environment as many do regarding cigarettes which have been scientifically proven to cause lung cancer. But should you be arrested and thrown into prison — ruining lives and costing the taxpayers millions– for doing something privately that should be no one’s business? I don’t think so.
Multiple studies, including brain scans, show that marijuana, or cannabis as it is called medically, is effective at reducing pain. In fact, it is a far less dangerous drug than many of the “legal” drugs prescribed for pain relief because it has no known toxicity. It has also been shown to reduce intra-ocular pressure in people with glaucoma, prevent or inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the formation of deposits in the brain, block the spread of breast cancer and provide anti-inflammatory effects that could be helpful diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Do you question these tests? Fine, then run more. But in the meantime, why eliminate one of the tools in the medical toolbox?
By Nancy Churnin