Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The fight for medical marijuana is about human beings and quality of life.

In Florida, 64 of the 67 Sheriffs support a resolution sponsored by the Florida Sheriff's Association, against the legalization of medical marijuana.  They worry about it's addictive qualities, that it's a gateway drug with the potential for abuse.

Really? Is it more addictive than prescription painkillers--(Haven't seen a resolution for that, have you?)--which are, by the way, easy to get and even covered by insurance? Your neighbor may be the most law abiding person you know and never smoked a joint in his life but in his medicine cabinet, he's got a bottle of Valium or Percocet that he takes regularly once or twice a day every day for years because it eases his pain, be it physical or emotional. Now you tell me which is worse? 

This fine line of legal vs. illegal is fascinating because prescription drugs can come with a hundred side effects, far less than marijuana, and they can be very dangerous and highly addictive,but it's okay because it's legal so long as you have a valid prescription. Oh, a person might be high like hell on them every single day (doing as much or more damage as marijuana) but so long as he or she doesn't commit a crime while high, it's okay. In the meantime the addiction is slowly but surely killing that person and possibly endangering the people around them.

But hey, at least it's not marijuana right? Cause that would be illegal and wrong.

I spent some time years ago on the Law Enforcement side of the war on drugs. It was an expensive, resource-sucking task but the President was adamant about it so we did our jobs as best we could. Looking back I wonder if we even made a dent in the problem. It seems now we're in the same place now we were back then....only with a few more powerful drugs and alas, marijuana is still on the list. Meanwhile resources for fighting the war on drugs have dwindled, budgets are cut and manpower is short and frankly, it may be about time to re-prioritize here. 

This is such a taboo subject, nobody in a position of power wants to go on record saying, "I'm okay with legalizing medical marijuana" because it's political suicide. But we need people to just take a stand and say "Look, let's just do the right thing here and then move on to more pressing issues."  I'd vote for that person just because they had the balls to break the cycle.

Speaking of taboo, remember "stand your ground"? A lot of people didn't like it because they thought it turn Florida into another "wild, wild west" and shockingly it didn't. Does marijuana have the potential to be a gateway drug? Sure. But then again, so does alcohol and prescription drugs, both of which are legal.

I feel that in most cases, individuals, not law enforcement or politicians or judges know what is best for them. What a person does in their own home is their business so long as it does not infringe upon the civil rights of others. 

Life is short and it can be---for someone that can find no relief---a living hell. Sometimes we just have to take off the blinders and see things for what they really are. In the end, this is about real human beings with real illnesses who are desperate for some kind of relief, even for a short period of time. This is about quality of life. Right now, we should show a little compassion and figure out how to come together to make the lives of these people just a little bit better. If smoking marijuana can do that, if it can somehow help preserve the quality of the life they have left, why should they be denied?

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