Let’s Talk About Pot

The other day I had lunch with a friend whose father is in stage four of stomach cancer. He is going through Chemo and she can’t get him to eat. I had just had a conversation about this with my son regarding California’s medical marijuana laws. I asked her if she thought pot would help him have an appetite. I was surprised to find out that the doctors had in fact offered him this. I said to her, “Medicinal marijuana is legal in Texas?” In fact, it is. But in pill form. But he had declined to use it. Why? Because of the stigma attached to pot. I couldn’t believe it. I told her, and she agreed, that he should certainly take it to get his appetite back, and and gain strength to fight the cancer. It’s absurd that he would let attitudes keep him from taking something that would help him.

At CPAC I saw all kinds of shirts and signs for the legalization of pot. It was the young Ron Paul supporters, of course. The problem is I don’t think their desire for legal pot has much to do with medicinal purposes. I think it has more to do with their desire to get high. Therein lies the problem. As long as pot is looked at as a way for young people to abuse it, it will maintain a stigma.

I support the legalization of medicinal marijuana across the board. I lean toward legalizing it period. But a few things keep me from going that far. Not the least of which is the number of young people who would flock to it like a moth to a flame. But I do think that the criminalization of it must be stopped. I was in theatre for many years. I was around pot a lot. I never tried it because I would never do anything that would have hurt my father. But many of my friends did. I came to the conclusion that pot is no more, and probably less dangerous than alcohol. I always said I would rather be around someone high than drunk.

The problem in our society is we don’t teach moderation. I love good wine. A glass of wine with a good meal is one of the joys of life. Having a couple of drinks with friends is also one of the joys of life. But what we have in our society is a problem with over indulgence. It hasn’t change since I was in college. When I visit my kids in college I see the same thing I did when I was there; an abuse of alcohol. Binge drinking is common. It’s stupid. It’s dangerous. But we don’t decide to make alcohol illegal because of it, do we? There will be those who will spend their life trying to escape their life with drugs or alcohol. But we have let the attitudes and reputation of pot make it into something like hardcore drugs. It is not. I believe it is no more harmful than drinking.

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The fact that people have criminal drug records over having or smoking pot is absurd to me. It is ruining people’s lives. It keeps them from getting jobs. To me, pot use should be no more than a ticket, like a “minor in possession” ticket that college students often get for getting caught with alcohol (which is also absurd, the drinking age should be 18 again. Why do we pretend college students can be kept from drinking?). Arresting people and putting them jail is a waste of our money and time.

It’s time for us to use common sense. Medical marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other conditions. There are dozens of peer-reviewed studies and government reports that prove this. Are we letting “stoners” keep relief from those suffering with these ailments?

Pot is plant. Just like many other medicines we take. We use it for good, or we abuse. It’s always our choice. But to let the reputation of pot as a “stoner” drug keep it from helping people is ridiculous. I believe 15 states have laws on the books legalizing medical marijuana. So, we are coming around slowly.

Many argue that we have a tremendous drug problem in this country and this will only add to it. I don’t think we have a drug problem. I think we have a despair problem that is dealt with with drugs. Let’s deal with despair. Lets lift each other up. Let’s help one another to see the beauty in life. Let’s offer friendship and love to those who feel they have to escape the pain of life in a haze of drugs. When we show people that God has plan for them, that they are loved, that their life has value and meaning, then they won’t yearn for the escape of drugs.

I don’t have all the answers. I’d love to hear what you think.

*Follow me on twitter! @KatMcKinley

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