Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Marijuana:
An Editorial Review of The Union
The legal status of drugs, particularly marijuana, has been a very relevant part of recent international political discourse. The conventional wisdom that the government promotes is that marijuana is a dangerous drug that is hazardous to our health and our society. Cannabis has a very strange legal situation in the Unite States. While federal law strictly prohibits possession, use and distribution of the drug, a total of sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. This is extremely puzzling when you see that marijuana is a Schedule I Drug and, according to the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” (1.) The reasons for marijuana’s legal status has become distorted and skewed with government propaganda and straight up lies. The Union seeks to expose these false theories and prove that marijuana is both a legitimate medicine and a multi-national and multi-billion dollar industry.
The conventional wisdom on marijuana consists of many myths and half-truths many of which are based on old and outdated studies. Agencies such as the DEA sponsor propaganda that propagates the idea that marijuana use kills brain cells that cannot regenerate. This popular belief leads to the stereotype that marijuana users are stupid and useless in society. When you look a bit deeper and uncover the facts, a completely different story becomes apparent. Since a single government-funded study on marijuana proved that marijuana uses kills brain cells, there have been legions of studies that prove the exact opposite; that marijuana does not impair brain function and can actually have preventative effect against mental diseases such as Alzheimers. According to webmd.com, “marijuana is not toxic, but it is a highly effective medicine.” Experts agree that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can cure over thirty medical conditions. With all this positive evidence, it is hard to believe that our government maintains its position that marijuana has no medical value.
Cannabis has been used as a medicine by cultures all over the world for thousands of years. Just a hundred years ago, you could buy cannabis tinctures over the counter for treatment of various illnesses. Today, marijuana is clinically proven to have positive effects in the treatment of AIDS, epilepsy, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and many other conditions.
The Union advocates for a more sensible policy on marijuana. For most of their examples, they use Canada. Canada, specifically British Colombia, has a massive percentage of citizens who use or have used marijuana. The drug doesn’t cause all of the “problems” that is associated with its use in the United States. How is this possible? As The Union sees it, it has to do with the definition of “problem.” In Canada, marijuana is technically illegal, but use is so rampant that it is impossible to stop so law enforcement looks the other way in an effort to divert limited resources to fighting more serious crimes. The United States has the highest rates of incarceration in the world with 25 percent of all prisoners being held on U.S. soil. Our strict drug laws and enforcement are behind this problem. Prison crowding is a common theme in jails all over the United States. The Union asks the audience, what if we could change the way that we think about marijuana? What would our society look like? As evident in Canada, our society would be thriving, not the post-apocalyptic drug zombie meltdown that our leaders paint.