Medical marijuana, after decades of absolute prohibition, is finally being appreciated for the panacea it is. According to Pro Con, medical marijuana is now used as a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals, in 23 states, to treat about a dozen different categories of illness.
So, why are some California cities trying to ban medical marijuana shops in various locations? Why do some community members obstruct medical marijuana at every turn? Misconceptions abound and are widely accepted. City image, perceived public risk, and school zone locations all play a factor in decisions to ban medical cannabis locally.
Benefits of medical marijuana
Marijuana’s value in treating glaucoma, nausea, and symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy have long been recognized. Yet until very recently, the marijuana herb was effectively the forbidden fruit of pharmacology. While doctors are known for their skepticism of herbal treatments, many have admitted that medical marijuana works.
Patients and their families know how invaluable medical marijuana is. Marijuana makes life livable for epileptics and other patients plagued with frequent seizures. Image the difference between having a child that seizes every hour or two and one who rarely has seizures. Marijuana makes cancer easier to live with and eases the discomfort caused by harsh chemical therapy drugs. It relieves muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, allowing these people to live normal and productive lives. It also helps PTSD sufferers and AIDS patients. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Medical marijuana has huge potential to relieve human suffering and return patients to a normal life.
What is the argument against medical marijuana?
So, what is the problem? Marijuana is not lethal at any dose. It has few side effects and most of those are rather pleasant. The so-called “high” is not really overwhelming enough to significantly impair regular users. So why do people continue to obstruct the use of medical marijuana?
The Modesto Bee reports on a proposed ordinance to ban medical marijuana in Stanislaus County, California. The following is part of their anti-marijuana argument to ban the cultivation, processing, storage, sale, or dispensing of marijuana in the county.
“Marijuana cultivation in unincorporated areas endangers the health and safety of residents, creates fire hazards and exposes people to the dangers of criminal activity, while cultivation near schools and community centers exposes children and adolescents to marijuana and the same risks.”
This would be a greenhouse, an agricultural operation that raises plants, so why would it be a fire hazard? Why would it expose people to criminal activity? What exactly would be the risks to health or safety? Even if it were dangerous to grow plants, why would they object to shops that sell or store cannabis? Just exactly what do these people think could happen?
Nearly a century of negative propaganda has created a lot of misconceptions about plain old Mary Jane. Propaganda films like Reefer Madness, which can be viewed on YouTube, gave an impression of marijuana use that most of today’s audience would find laughable. Still, a lot of those myths are more common than one would think. Today, new misconceptions are arising out of specially bred medical marijuana as well. These are just as silly and groundless as Reefer Madness. We just can’t see that yet. In twenty years those ideas, too, will leave us howling with laughter.
Once we wade through the aftermath of so many decades of propaganda and debunk what is not true, there is really little left. No, marijuana doesn’t make you sterile, or cause two-headed babies, as two generations of the children and grandchildren of old hippies can attest. Why does the propaganda persist?
Virtually any drug made by pharmaceutical companies is more dangerous than medical marijuana, and many have a greater potential for misuse, addiction, and side effects. Even over-the-counter pain relievers carry a much greater risk than marijuana. There is no known risk in using marijuana, no unpleasant side effects and no risk of overdose. There is no dosage level of medical marijuana, or any kind of marijuana, that has ever proven to be harmful.
[Image via ShutterStock/OpenRangeStock]