Many opponents of medical marijuana like to say that some of the people who get it aren’t really sick, especially in states like California. They say that while there are people with legitimate ailments getting access to medical cannabis, there are also those who aren’t really “sick,” and who just want to get high legally.
First, let’s address what it means to be “sick.” Do you have to be elderly or in the hospital to be sick? What about those who can’t sleep well at night? They may not have cancer, but they do have an “ailment.” What about those who do suffer from “chronic pain.” Just because they don’t have a terminal illness, does that make them less deserving of relief?
Opponents of medical marijuana say that the non- “sick” using it constitutes abuse. But cannabis is a non-toxic plant that you cannot overdose on and that many studies have shown to be less addictive than caffeine and much less harmful than tobacco or alcohol. So what is being abused?
If marijuana was a dangerous product that people needed to be shielded from, I’d be the first person saying lock it up behind a counter and make people register to use it after getting a recommendation from a professional. But if someone in perfect health smokes a joint in their own home, so what? Who is harmed? Who has had their rights infringed upon?
Let’s pretend for a moment. Let’s say for every 10,000 people who use medical marijuana legally in their state, only one is really “sick.” Ludicrous, I know, but helpful in making my point. Should access for that one person be taken away so that the access is taken away for the other 9,999? What possible justification is there for that? The 9,999 aren’t hurting anyone and the one sick person is getting much-needed relief. So why should anyone care?
If there is a drawback to the medical marijuana movement, it is this notion that marijuana should only be allowed for medical purposes. Cannabis has many incredible medical properties, but so do many substances. What sets marijuana apart is the relatively few side effects that come with it, and it’s non-toxic nature. Morphine is great for medical purposes, but it probably should not be sold at the liquor store. The chance for abuse of morphine is high, and it causes some to involuntarily infringe on the rights of other people. The discussion of the medical regulation (or other types of government regulation) of dangerous substances like morphine has a place in civilized society, but marijuana simply cannot be placed under the category of “dangerous.”
So what justification is there for denying everyone legal marijuana just because not everyone needs it for strictly medical purposes? If even one terminal person can get legal relief from marijuana, who cares how many hippies are blazing up in a drum circle in a house in California? If a marijuana user commits an actual crime, they should be charged for that crime, but there is no reason to think marijuana users are predisposed to committing crime. If anything, they are more likely to raid the fridge or play some PS3 while a Wiz Khalifa mixtape bumps in the background.
In the end it doesn’t really matter how many people use marijuana, or for what reason. You cannot deny “sick” people access to marijuana just so someone with slight back pain might get it. You have no right to tell an adult what they can and can’t do if they are not infringing on the rights of another. You certainly have no right to tell someone what they can use for medicine, especially if their doctor recommends it. It is only a morally justifiable position if you believe you are the determiner of such things as who is “sick” and what they can do to find relief, like God.
If you truly believe you are God, then it is quite natural that you should feel the need to make these decisions for people you don’t know and will never meet. But we also make it a point to remove delusional people from society, not give them power over their fellow humans (for the most part).
While he didn’t concede to the level of “abuse” claimed by medical marijuana opponents, Kris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access told The 420 Times, “why punish an entire population of patients for the actions of a few? The police have plenty of enforcement resources at their disposal to address any abuse in the system.”
The bottom line is that medical marijuana is great, but it must one day make way for the complete end of marijuana prohibition if even medical users are to be “free.” Prohibition will always be used as an excuse to act against medical users. Unless we are ready to start banning things more dangerous than marijuana – like alcohol, tobacco, McDonalds and deer, just to name a few – then we must remove the prohibition of marijuana, especially since it has such an amazing ability to help the “sick,” however you define that word.
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