420 day is a counterculture holiday for the recognition and legalization of marijuana. Although marijuana is an illegal substance, the reform debate is reaching a frenzy, with many states debating legalization. In a recent AP-CNBC poll, 60% of Americans supported medical marijuana, with 74% believing in its medical benefits. 66% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans favor medical marijuana.
Proponents believe medical marijuana alleviates cancer symptoms, nausea from chemotherapy, chronic pain, AIDS wasting syndrome, and other diseases. Opponents argue it’s a drug with dangerous side effects.
With the proliferation of pharmaceutical drugs for every imaginable ill, it’s ironic that some wish to apply stringent regulations to marijuana. The side effects from legal drugs are numerous and significant; yet we still allow their use for conditions as banal as erectile dysfunction. It seems inhumane to deny, much yet prosecute, medical marijuana users seeking pain relief and comfort from illness.
The Obama administration has announced it will not target medical marijuana users if they comply with state laws, representing a major change from Bush doctrine.
Only 33% of Americans polled support complete legalization of pot. Opponents cite various reasons, including increased usage of a mind altering substance, effects of “reefer madness”, toxicity of smoking, and social ills caused by drug use.
Whatever your stance, it is worthy to consider these questions from a logical standpoint:
– Why is marijuana considered to be toxic and illegal, yet tobacco, a recognized deadly addictive substance, remains legal? With all its known dangers, perhaps we should be prohibiting tobacco – certainly no arguments can be made for its health benefits.
– Why is marijuana different than alcohol? Alcohol is an addictive substance causing numerous deaths and social ills. Prohibition was repealed because among many reasons, outlawing alcohol did not decrease usage. It instead allowed gangsters to profit as well as causing deadly forms of alcohol to arise.
– Does anyone really think that criminalizing marijuana curtails its usage? Marijuana is widely available to any teen that wants it and has been for decades. Legalization would set quality and safety standards, preventing dangerous additives as well as synthetic marijuana, a controversial and possibly dangerous “legal pot”.
Illinois is currently debating legalization of medical marijuana; a bill has passed the Senate and has considerable support in the House. State representative Lou Lang, (D-16th), said that the bill would provide for a 3 year pilot program with strict controls.