My name is Sam Shakespeare of Boca Raton, Florida. I am a strong advocate and proponent of medical marijuana. The disparity of laws across the nation are causing unnecessary harm to families. What some American citizens can freely participate in, others are going to jail for and families are being broken apart.
We are learning more and more about marijuana every day. The discovery of the body’s Endocannabinoid System was a major breakthrough for the science of medical marijuana. The Endocannabinoid System is a series of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain and central nervous system that are interconnected to the body’s immune system, and only interact with compounds found in marijuana.
We are finding that medical marijuana can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, pain, epilepsy and glaucoma.
New research has been revealed…
A study by the University of Nottingham shows how certain chemical compounds found in cannabis may help to reduce brain damage following a stroke.
The National Cancer Institute’s research has found how cannabis can actually protect brain cells against the development of certain types of brain tumors…
This one is a little “science-ey”, but a National Institute of Health study finds marijuana may provide a method of resuscitation from cardiac arrest…
In fact, marijuana has over thousands of years of medical use in human history and not even one death has been attributed to the herb. Simply because of the fact that there is no lethal dose makes marijuana a much more viable and safer option for treatment to a variety of ailments and diseases. We know that the use of medical marijuana can replace the use of certain legal prescription drugs that have serious side effects, like accidental death from overdose, yet these legal prescription drugs remain legal even though they are much more harmful to the human body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than any year on record. The majority of those overdoses involve prescription opioids or pain pills (OxyContin, Percocet,. Hydrocodone, etc.) Since 1999, prescription opioids sold in the US has nearly quadrupled, and so has the number of opioid overdoses. Many of these “pain pill” deaths could have been prevented with the use of medical marijuana. In 2014, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving prescribed pain pills.
But the real tragedy concerning medical marijuana is the United States War on Drugs. It has allowed the federal and various state and local governments across the country to take up military arms against its own citizens. It has justified the militarization of police forces across the country. For a country that claims to be the Land of the Free, we incarcerate more of our own citizens than any other country in the world. The United States of America has about 2% of the world’s population, but it has 25% of the world’s prison population, most of them being nonviolent drug offenders. Over 50% of those being marijuana charges. That’s right, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 in 2010, 80% were for simply possessing marijuana.
And the US taxpayer has been footing the bill. According to drugpolicy.org the US War on Drugs cost the American taxpayer over $51 billion annually. As it currently already costs over $30,000 to imprison one person for one year.
If the war on drugs was working, it should make drugs more scarce, hence driving prices up. In reality, drug prices have stayed about the same over the past 20 years, showing the War on Drugs has had literally no effect on the black market of illegal drugs. The only thing the War on Drugs has been successful at is arresting and imprisoning our citizens at an alarming rate. The one sure way to wipe out an illegal black market is to legalize the very thing that has been made illegal. In this way certain states are already catching on and adding millions and millions to their tax revenues every year. While their citizens are enjoying the true meaning of freedom.
While some of our citizens are enjoying freedom, others that get arrested for having marijuana may lose a job or lose public benefits or lose their education funding. Maybe even worse, they go to jail and are separated from their children and their family. What effect does that have on that family and those kids? These children are getting shortchanged because of an ill-conceived law. Currently over 50% of the American population supports full legalization of marijuana. It’s time to legalize and stop arresting otherwise law-abiding citizens for choosing an herb that is less dangerous than all other available options. We know that alcohol kills over 600,000 people every year and cigarettes kill over 1 million people. As a reminder marijuana has never been attributed to even one death. Yet somehow the authorities say “we need more data… ” We have data, thousands of years of data. What is interesting to me is why were we not this cautious with alcohol and cigarettes.