Why I Hate “Medical Marijuana”
Medical marijuana, in a country hooked on booze, high-fructose corn syrup and cigarettes, makes about as much sense to me as Civil Unions for gay people but marriage for everyone else. As much as sense as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for people who smoke weed but need to be protected from bigotry and are afraid of the repercussions of people finding out.
It is a hypocritical load of propaganda that ultimately does more harm than good by perpetuating the myth that marijuana is somehow harmful. That it’s a “gateway” to addiction and crime, even though addiction is a biological and psychological issue, and crime is a direct result of a prohibition-fueled black market. That it’s somehow connected to drug-induced criminal rampages, even though in more than 20 years of being around stoned people, I’ve never seen one of them so much as pick a fight or manage to put away their dishes. (The giggling is off-putting sometimes, but it’s not exactly a threat to society to have a bunch of mellow people laughing a lot.) Worst of all are the claims that marijuana is somehow bad for your health, when there is not a single study showing that it does even a fraction of the harm that cigarettes and alcohol do to individuals and society as a whole.
- According to the Center For Disease Control, in 2001 there were 331 deaths from simply overdosing on alcohol (not even counting drunk driving and other drunken deaths). There were 0 deaths from overdosing on marijuana, which isn’t really possible.
- Recent research has shown no link between marijuana and lung-cancer, as opposed to the 10-million people a year that the World Health Organization says will die from smoking-related cancers.
To be clear, I have a medical marijuana prescription, which I got from the same doctor that my entire family has been seeing for a decade. I have a badly broken neck and weed is, really, the only thing that actually relieves the pain. I could take loads of pharmaceuticals, which are toxic and costly and produced by the people who lobby against medical marijuana. But I can’t stand the way they make me feel, and they don’t work anyway. Unlike the weed that I smoke, which is grown organically in the beautiful Seattle “sunshine,” those pills have pages of documented side-effects and potential health-risks, and make me feel “stoned” for a full day after I take one. (Getting high before bed, on the other hand, lets me sleep and I wake up well-rested and clear-headed.)Even the World Health Organization, in 1995 said “There are no recorded cases of overdose fatalities attributed to cannabis, and the estimated lethal dose for humans extrapolated from animal studies is so high that it cannot be achieved by … users.” The same cannot be said of pharmaceutical pain pills that have to be tightly regulated and have an army of liability lawyers make sure I know how risky it is to take them.
The biggest thing, however, that pisses me off about the whole “medical marijuana” facade is that it is a government-sponsored red-herring that is spawning all over the place. Surely there is no one in the industry that can say, without giggling, that the “medical marijuana” laws aren’t being abused and made mockeries of. I’m sorry, but I’m willing to bet that a giant proportion of the people with “green cards” are just people who want to get high because they like it, and this affords them a level of protection. They should be able to get high, just because they want to, without a prescription. Just like I can go get a Logavulin, or someone else can go buy a pack of Marlboros, or some mother can buy their kid a Pepsi – all of which are FAR worse for our health.
But, by stretching the intent of the law as far as they can without breaking it, they provide ample opportunities for close-minded regulationists to say, “look, see, I told you they were law-breakers who can’t be trusted.” Basically, this ridiculous non-stand is setting up all of us for failure, and to be the people who cause our own cause to fail.
- Nevermind the tax money that could be saved by not criminalizing it, and made by legalizing and regulating it. Seriously. We could fund both arts and education on weed taxes alone.
- Nevermind that I don’t think any of us really want to give the government control over what we do to or with our bodies. (Even though I sometimes want to neuter people, and make tofu corndogs illegal because those are NOT food.)
- Nevermind that history has shown prohibition of anything to be expensive, pointless and a fantastic fuel for crime. (Seriously, doesn’t anyone remember the 20’s?)
Like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and civil unions, this medical marijuana nonsense is intended to pacify people into not demanding real reform. No, we need real reform. Legalization. This is limbo, purgatory, and it’s just silly. Worse, it’s asking us all to be complicit in the bigotry and hypocrisy around something that is being blown out of all proportion. It’s setting us all up to look like an industry of idiots and law-breakers who can’t be trusted.
No. I don’t want to play this game. Fully legal. Now.
I am thrilled to live in a state in which my doctor, who I’ve seen for a decade, can make it legal for me to smoke weed. But I’m pissed that he has to.