As you well know, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, the two forms of the plant known collectively to most of us as marijuana, are now legal for medicinal and recreational use in two states. Colorado and Washington. I live in the latter. Things are changing rapidly here. The “demon weed” is gaining support everywhere that has experienced the ravages of our current depression. The most important illegal cash crop is finally, deservedly, becoming the most important legal crop.
People are learning the true history of cannabis in the US and how our government coerced countries across the world to condemn hemp and eliminate the many positive attributes of the plant. Doctors are learning that cannabis and humans have one of the oldest plant/animal relationships on Earth. Humans are equipped with more receptors that respond to the effects of the substance than we have for anything else in the plant kingdom. Man and Marijuana are very old friends.
Cartoon by Matt Bors
The long, dark prohibition will disappear in the coming years and more people will be able to benefit from the healing powers of the plant than did so before 1937 when the laws were changed and cannabis consumption was driven underground. It is hard to imagine that cannabis was once the most widely prescribed drug in America. What is truly criminal is that cannabis is relatively benign compared to the pharmaceuticals that replaced it.
So much misinformation and crazy lies have been foisted off on the gullible American people that even the President can’t declare that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol. There are no deaths attributable to dope. Alcohol and its frequent partner, tobacco, kill many thousands every year. But these poisons are legal while something that will help millions has remained prohibited and forbidden to people desperate for relief from chronic pain and other maladies.
America is at last waking up to a truly new day when, hopefully, the reality of the benefits of cannabis will become available to all who need it. That’s the best possible scenario. The legalization process and the immediate after effects are the proverbial “can of worms” waiting to be opened. There will be set backs and dramatic problems that will need to be addressed before anything surrounding the plant’s proper use, whether medicinally or as a recreational product, will happen. Where there is an opportunity for great gain there is always greed and stupidity. But I believe that after well-intentioned growers, sellers and users unite to assure the passing of justified legislation we will have a market that is able to run smoothly and enhance the communities it serves.
Someday, in the not-too-distant future, the nightmare of a failed War On Drugs (one that focused on the least objectionable substance while ignoring real addiction problems and the black markets that served addicts) that worked to create the financial detriment and insane incarceration of many tens of thousands of individuals (primarily black) will finally be over. Sanity might once again gain a toehold in this country.
Cartoon by Jeff Stahler
Cartoon by Pat Oliphant.