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Medical Marijuana Essay

“Marijuana is the finest anti-nausea medication known to science, and our leaders have lied about this consistently. [Arresting people for] medical marijuana is the most hideous example of government interference in the private lives of individuals. It’s an outrage within an outrage within an outrage”.

Peter McWilliams Author and Advocate for Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana has found its place once again as the medical plant that is recognized for its healing potential and properties. How the Government has suppressed its positive potential and healing powers for over 25 years. With the help from many patients, loved ones, research departments and advocate groups to get the Government’s attention to see and understand that the terminally ill and the sick should not be treated as common criminals. They are only trying to find some peace and serenity in their last days. The struggle and fight that has been going on for the last 25 years against the Government. The people were finally heard, with the legalization of Medical Marijuana.

The Government wants to regulate everything for their own best interest, the positive effect of decriminalizing marijuana for the terminally ill and the positive economic benefits for our community.

Cannabis Sativa, Marijuana, Weed, Herb, Mary Jane these are just a few names that this little 5 leaf plant goes by. How could this life saving and healing plant get such a bad reputation? When clearly it has nothing but positive powers, people all over the world have been using marijuana for thousands of years. Cannabis has been around since the Garden of Eden, it is even mentioned in the Bible. Yes in the Bible, in Exodus (30:22-23) “Holy anointing oil, as described in the original Hebrew version of the recipe in Exodus (30:22-23), contained over six pounds of kaneh-bosem, a substance identified by respected etymologists, linguists, anthropologists, botanists and other researchers as cannabis, extracted into about six quarts of olive oil, along with a variety of other fragrant herbs. The ancient anointed ones were literally drenched in this potent mixture” (Bennett, 2010). “Marijuana proponents suggest that the recipe for the anointing oil passed from God to Moses included Cannabis, or kaneh-bosem in Hebrew.

They point to versions calling for fragrant cane, which they say was mistakenly changed to the plant calamus in the King James Version of the Bible” (Kari, 2011). Cannabis was good enough for God and Moses, then how come it is not good enough for us now? The United States Government wants to be in control and regulate everything we do as a United State Citizens. Marijuana was once considered a pharmaceutical medication used for a wide verity of reasons. In fact cannabis has a deep rooted history in what is now known as the United States of America. “Christopher Columbus brought Cannabis Sativa to America in 1492” (420 Milestone History Marijuana, (n.d.), 2010).

“From 1000 to 1500, the use of marijuana spread further. In 1619, a law passed in Jamestown Virginia Colony, which required farmers to grow hemp. The French and British grew hemp in Colonies of Port Royal, Virginia, and Plymouth. Marijuana also became a major trade item between Central and South Asia during this time” (420 Milestone History Marijuana, (n.d.), 2010). The United States also had Presidents’ who grew cannabis. Yes Presidents’, “in Mount Vernon, George Washington grew hemp as his primary crop in 1797. Also Thomas Jefferson grew hemp as a secondary crop at Monticello. In 1840, medicines with a cannabis base were available in U.S. pharmacies. Hashish was available in Persian pharmacies” (420 Milestone History Marijuana, (n.d.), 2010).

Therefore when did it become a crime to cultivate, possess, consume, and dispense marijuana? “In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in the U.S. and the Food and Drug Administration was formed. This was the first time drugs had any government oversight” (420 Milestone History Marijuana, (n.d.), 2010). “In 1930, The Federal Government gave control of illegal drugs to the Treasury Department, they created the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Harry Anslinger a prohibitionist became the first commissioner in 1930, he held that position until 1962. Anslinger declared war on drugs and effectively shaped America’s view’s and thought’s about marijuana” (420 Milestone History Marijuana, (n.d.), 2010). “October 2, 1937, Anslinger got Congress to enact the “Marihuana Tax Act”, which is to imposed registration and reporting requirements and a tax on the growers, sellers, and buyers of marijuana” (Eddy, 2010 p.2).

In Eddy’s report he also writes that “Dr. William C. Woodward, legislative counsel of the American Medical Association (AMA), opposed the measure. In oral testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, he stated that “there are evidently potentialities in the drug that should not be shut off by adverse legislation. The medical profession and pharmacologists should be left to develop the use of this drug as they see fit. Two Months later, in a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, he again argued against the act:

“That there is no evidence, however, that the medicinal use of these drugs [cannabis and its preparations and derivatives] has caused or is causing cannabis addiction. As remedial agents they are used to an inconsiderable extent, and the obvious purpose and effect of this bill isto impose so many restrictions on their medicinal use as to prevent such use altogether. Since the medicinal use of cannabis has not caused and is not causing addiction, the prevention of the use of the drug for medicinal purposes can accomplish no good end whatsoever.

How far it may serve to deprive the public of the benefits of a drug that on further research may prove to be of substantial value, it is important to foresee”. “Despite the AMA’s opposition, the “Marihuana Tax Act” was approved, causing all medicinal products containing marijuana to be withdrawn from the market and leading to marijuana’s removal” (Eddy, 2010 p.2).

October 2, 1937, “On the very day the “Marihuana Tax Stamp Act” was passed; the FBI and Denver police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested two people: Samuel R. Caldwell and Moses Baca. Three days later, Caldwell, a 58 year old unemployed laborer, became the first person in the U.S. to be convicted of selling of marijuana without a tax stamp. He was sentence to four years oof hard labor in Leavenworth Penitentiary. Presiding Judge J Foster Symes, had previously stated that he considered Marijuana to be the worst of all narcotics and vowed to impose harsh sentences for violations of the “Marihuana Tax Act”. Caldwell was also fined $1,000 for the two marijuana cigarettes that were found in his possession. Baca, who was his customer, was found guilty of possession of Marijuana and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Both men served their full sentences. Caldwell died a year after his release” (420 Milestone History Marijuana, (n.d.), 2010).

This is why that “we the people” stood up, banded together, and formed Organizations. People became spokespersons, advocates, “a voice for the cause”. Take for example, Peter McWilliams. He is the man I quoted in the beginning. “Peter was a self-help author, who advocated for the legalization of marijuana. He wrote over 40 books including “How to survive the loss of love”, “Ain’t nobody’s business if I do”. Along with poetry and how to use microcomputers. In 1996, he was diagnosed with AIDS and non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Like so many patients suffering from cancer or AIDS, he had extreme difficulty on keeping down the drugs that controlled his illnesses. He began to smoke marijuana to control the drug-induced nausea. It saved his life” (US: The Life and Death of Peter McWilliams, 2002).

“NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was founded in 1970, as a nonprofit public-interest advocacy group whose mission is to end marijuana Prohibition” (Historical Timeline Medical Marijuana, (n.d.), 2011). “In 1971, President Nixon declared war on drugs. In 1972,”The bipartisan Shafer Commission [National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse], appointed by President Nixon at the direction of Congress [and chaired by former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer], considered laws regarding marijuana and determined that personal use of marijuana should be decriminalized. Nixon rejected the recommendation, but over the course of the 1970s, eleven states decriminalized marijuana and most others reduced their penalties” (Busted: “America’s War on Marijuana.”, 2010).

“Possession of marihuana for personal use would no longer be an offense, but marihuana possessed in public would remain contraband subject to summary seizure and forfeiture. Casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration not involving profit would no longer be an offense” (Busted: “America’s War on Marijuana.”, 2010). 1973,“The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNND) and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE) are merged to form the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)” (420 Milestone History Marijuana, (n.d.), 2010).

“In November, 1976, a Washington, DC man [Robert Randall] afflicted by glaucoma employed the little-used Common Law Doctrine of Necessity to defend himself against criminal charges of marijuana cultivation” (US v. Randall).

“On November 24, 1976, federal Judge James Washington ruled Randall’s use of Marijuana constituted a medical necessity, Judge Washington dismissed criminal charges against Randall. Concurrent with this judicial determination, federal agencies responding to a May, 1976 petition filed by Randall, began providing this patient with licit, FDA-approved access to government supplies of medical marijuana. Randall was the first American to receive marijuana for the treatment of a medical disorder” (National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA] 1998). 1978, “New Mexico passed the first state law recognizing the medical value of marijuana [Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act]. Over the next few years, more than 30 states passed similar legislation.” (Scott, 1994). “Voters in California [pass] a state medical marijuana initiative in 1996. Known as Proposition 215(45 KB), it permits patients and their primary caregivers, with a physician’s recommendation, to possess and cultivate marijuana for the treatment of AIDS, cancer, muscular spasticity, migraines, and several other disorders; it also protects them from punishment if they recommend marijuana to their patients” (Joy, PhD. & Mack, 2011)

The New England Journal of Medicine publishes an editorial written by Jerome

P. Kassirer, MD, titled “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana.” The article states: “Federal authorities should rescind their prohibition of the medicinal use of marijuana for seriously ill patients and allow physicians to decide which patients to treat. The government should change marijuana’s status from that of a Schedule I drug (considered to be potentially addictive and with no current medical use) to that of a Schedule II drug (potentially addictive but with some accepted medical use) and regulate it accordingly” (Kassier, 1997).

In January 2004, California passed SB 420, which states the guidelines for growing marijuana. Yes this bill also went through the court system. In May 2008, second district court of appeals ruling in Kelley case that the possession limits set by SB 420 violate the California Constitution because the voters approved Prop 215 can only be amended by the voters. With Prop 215 you can legally be in possession of marijuana and with SB 420 you can legally grow. This has drastically reduce crime in our cities and form a more productive society through its positive uses. In 2013, medical marijuana is a thriving and growing business for all those involved from the growers, to the “caregivers clubs” with their green cross symbols above their doors (yes like the Red Cross, but green) making it possible for the medical community, and the consumer to know they have found the right place. As of this date there is a total of 18 states and DC now known as Medical Marijuana States. With 11 more states pending legalization to legalize medical marijuana. Now legal for others to seek and receive this healing and lifesaving plant.

Since the Government has allowed each state to listen to its people, and as it stands today marijuana is legal and available for all those who have a recommendation card. Now it is not a crime for the terminally ill and sick to gain access to the medication that they so greatly need to function on day-to-day bases. You might wonder, “How do I know so much or even care about marijuana being legal”? I am also a member, because I have a recommendation card. I have had mine for about a year now. My doctor prescribed it for me when I told him I was depressed (over the death of my baby boy Marshall) and I did not want to take any manufactured manmade pill and have to worry about the side effects.

Medical marijuana has done the trick for me, I take as need by my doctors’ direction. I have to say, that it has saved me. Also The Government, State and City get to collect the taxes and the dispensaries make their money and the clients get their much need lifesaving medication. Crime is down and people are employed, and the Government gets to have their say, but in the end “We the People” were finally heard, and this little plant is finally back where it belongs.

To quote one of my favorite comedians:

~It’s not a war on drugs, it’s a war on personal freedom it’s what it is ok, Keep that in mind at all times. Thank you”~
~ Bill Hicks~

References

Bennett, C. (2010). Historical Timeline Medical Marijuana. Retrieved from http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceid=000143

Eddy, M. (2010). Medical Marijuana: Review and Analysis of Federal and State Policies.. Retrieved from Federation of American Scientist/Congressional Research and State Service Reports: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33211.pdf

Hicks, B. (1996). Lateralus (Album). Retrieved from Tool (Group)

Joy, PhD., J., & Mack, A. (2011). Marijuana as Medicine Beyond Controversy, 200. Retrieved from http://www.brainz.org/420-milestone-history-marijuana

Kari, S. (2011). Historical Timeline Medical Marijuana. Retrieved from http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceid=000143

Kassier, J. P. (1997). Federal Foolishness and Marijuana. Retrieved from http://www.brainz.org/420-milestone-history-marijuana

McWilliams, P. (1996). Quotes by Peter McWilliams: Finest Quotes. Retrieved from http://www.finestquotes.com/author_quotes_authors-Peter+McWilliams-page-0.html Scott, E. (1994). Marional: The Little Synthetic That Couldn’t. Retrieved from http://www.druglibrary.org/significate-legal-cases.htlm

420 Milestone History Marijuana, (n.d.). (2010). Retrieved from http://www.braniz.org/420-milestone-history-marijuana

Busted: “America’s War on Marijuana. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org

Historical Timeline Medical Marijuana, (n.d.). (2011). Retrieved from http://www.medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceid=000143

National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA]. (1998). Retrieved from Provision of Marijuana and Other Compound for Scientific Research – Recommendations of the National Institute on Drug Abuse National Advisory Council, NIDA website

US: The Life and Death of Peter McWilliams. (2002). Retrieved from http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v00/n948/a03.html


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