Do scientific advancements in medical science now legitimate marijuana as a medicine? Marijuana is currently illegal under federal law. However, at the same time, marijuana is somehow very legal under state law in certain American states today. Still, the citizens of these states have fallen subject to federal prosecution. For even though they are using marijuana in compliance with state laws, they are at the same time using marijuana in violation of federal law. As a result, the federal government has been going into these marijuana-legal states and enforcing their contrasting laws upon the state laws.
In addition to shutting down state-run medical marijuana distribute, the federal government is also imprisoning doctors and distribute should they not shut their operations down (Schwartz). This practice is unconstitutional, and is leading to overcrowding in our prisons and unnecessary spending to enforce the federal law in state jurisdictions. Unnecessary, unsuccessful and financially exhausting efforts are made on the federal government’s behalf to prohibit a substance that was once listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia (Bauer). In addition, more and more states seem to be passing marijuana reform laws and most would agree that
America may already be slowly on its way to a future of marijuana legalization. Thus, we have a pressing issue that needs to be addressed. At this point, the only realistic solution to the marijuana controversy is for the federal government to add marijuana to the U. S. Pharmacopoeia and implement a policy in which the states that have legalized marijuana are exempt from federal enforcement At the root of the controversy is the marijuana, or “Cannabis” plant itself. So what exactly is this plant, and what is its history with humans? Edward M. Breeches, author of The Consumers Union
Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, points out that, “[C]anabas is the only plant that yields both a drug or intoxicant and a useful fiber, [and] its early history can be readily traced through references to a plant that yields both” (pet. VIII, Chi. 53). Humans first interaction with marijuana dates back to 2900 BC, where the Chinese Emperor If His had described cannabis as a medicine that “possessed both yin and yang” (Ditch). Widely used throughout ancient history, marijuana was first brought to the United States by Jamestown settlers in 161 1 , where its strong fiber was used for ropes, canvas, and other fiber-based materials.
Breeches). It wasn’t until the Mexican immigrants brought the plant into the U. S. From 1910-1920 that ingesting marijuana for its intoxicating effects was first introduced to the American people (PBS). Following the initial spread of marijuana use, many insights to the plant began to unravel and it was soon introduced to the medical community. The interesting, and rather overlooked aspect of marijuana is that humans are made for it. According to an article published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, in the early 1 ass’s scientists Gain and Mechanical isolated delta-9-transmogrification (TECH) from the Cannabis plant.
However, the mechanism of action remained a mystery until 1990. After a lengthy, 30-year research process, That’s mechanism of action was revealed and identified in a surprising discovery: Cannabis receptors, TECH-sensitive sites in the human brain (Alpaca, Rigger and Hoffman). This means that we all have sites in our brains that are specifically designated to process and activate marijuana. The Institute of Medicine (MM) went on to endorse marijuana for its medical “benefits” in 1999 (Alt, Alicia and Lancet).
Despite the popular arguments claiming that marijuana should not be used by humans, we cannot deny that he research presented hints at the existence of a compatible, human- marijuana relationship laid out by nature. A large portion of the medical community recognizes the healing properties of the Cannabis plant. Still, arguments opposing the medical acceptance of marijuana are rather convincing: Marijuana comes from the plant Cannabis sati. It contains more than 400 different chemicals ? many with unknown effects ? which differ from plant to plant.
For something to be a medicine, it must have well- defined and measurable ingredients that are the same each time a person takes a dose. That means one pill has to have the same amount of medicine as the next. This way, a doctor can determine what dose to prescribe and how often a patient should take it (Junior Scholastic). Despite the validity of these arguments, there is undoubtedly a medical need for marijuana. It may appear that the general consensus of the medical community is that marijuana as a treatment method is a rather “untraditional. ” DRP.
Sandy Guppy, an American neurosurgeon from India, had originally gone public with his anti-marijuana beliefs in 2009 with his TIME Magazine article, “Health: Why I Would Vote No On Pot’ (Guppy). However, marijuana seems to trigger sudden changes of heart. The highly recognized chief medical correspondent for CNN, has recently released a popular documentary titled, Weed. In this documentary, Guppy, a highly credible medical figure, resolves to re-learn and analyze marijuana with an open mind. The outcome resulted in Sandy Septa’s public apology regarding his recent hostility towards marijuana.
Guppy, who was previously offered the position of Surgeon General by the United States Obama administration, details in this documentary his change of heart on the epic as attention is turned to a five-year-old child, Charlotte Biggie, whose new-found quality of life is indebted to marijuana. Charlotte uses marijuana on a daily basis. Influenced by the federal government’s portrayal of marijuana, Charlotte parents had originally thought of marijuana as unethical and immoral. Needless to say, they were opposed to the idea of giving marijuana to their five-year-old daughter.
Charlotte was born a fraternal twin, so a problem became clear early on when she was not hitting developmental milestones at the same time as her јin. Sadly, adjust three months old, Charlotte experienced a seizure for the first time. By the time she was two, she had displayed obvious symptoms of Travel Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy that begins in infancy. “It was a race against time. Many Travel kids dye young, in early childhood,” Guppy remarks. After diagnosis, Charlotte parents sought treatment remedies for this devastating condition. Over the course of the next two years, Charlotte had failed every treatment.
In fact, Charlotte heart had once stopped in response to a heavy medication. By the time Charlotte was five years old, she was having 300 seizures a week. When she wasn’t seizing, Charlotte spent most of her time in a post-seizure resting state, immobile and unresponsive. “As a last resort, doctors wanted to either prescribe a powerful veterinary drug used on epileptic dogs, or put Charlotte in a medically-induced coma so her brain and body could rest,” Guppy remarks. This unfortunate lifestyle leaves little room for experiencing a normal childhood, and her parents began to seek alternative treatment options.
Her father found a case where a young child with Travel Syndrome was using marijuana to alleviate their seizures. After hearing of this, Charlotte parents decided to try medical marijuana to treat their daughter’s suffering. The process of obtaining medical marijuana for a child this young proved to be difficult, even though they were located in Colorado. After much rejection, the Biggie family had finally found a doctor who was in favor of the proposed treatment. They even found a specific strain of the marijuana plant known to reduce seizures.
The medicine was extracted from the plant and placed under Charlotte tongue. After three hours of absolutely no seizure activity, Charlotte mother expressed that “she would have had 1 00 by now. After this initial administration of marijuana, this child went from 300 seizures a week to just one seizure a week. Charlotte, who spend most of her life in a postnatal state, was finally able to meet her family for the first time. Charlotte treatment continued and she soon began to finally progress as a normal and healthy child. In this documentary, DRP.
Sandy Guppy asks a profound question of the audience: “What would you do if this were your child? ” (Guppy) Charlotte Story serves as clear proof of marijuana’s ability to improve the overall quality of life in certain humans. If marijuana is actively being used as a successful medication, then it belongs in the U. S. Pharmacopoeia. Marijuana still faces obstacles in its pursuit of becoming recognized and practiced openly throughout the medical community. At the same time, it can be comforting to know that many doctors already endorse and incorporate marijuana in their practices.
With the recognition of the medical community, marijuana’s legal status has not done it justice. Many have mistaken the question of marijuana as an ethical decision. As reflected in the research findings, the intentions of marijuana’s existence seem to be a matter of science, biology and medicine. The only reason marijuana has become a legal problem is because the government has chosen to make it a problem. The Tenth Amendment states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” (US Consist. , Am. 10).
The federal government had passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSS) of 1970, terming marijuana as an illegal substance with no known medical use (United States. Dept. Of Justice). However, the Constitution itself does not mention marijuana r medical marijuana. It is within this loophole that certain states were able to legalize medical marijuana within their borders in the recent years. The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights, serve to protect individual rights, protect state rights, and limit the government’s power and authority on matters not mentioned in the constitution (Laws. Mom). It is important to recognize the basic nature of these rights, for they are exercised by Americans every day. A perfect example of this is the freedom of speech. Media figures have the freedom to publish or roadways their opinions via national television, radio or the World Wide Web, and everyday citizens can publicly offer their feedback to these opinions, positive or negative, as long as no threats are made. This feedback can be something as grand as a broadcast, or something as simple as an internet response comment to an online publication. The feedback is our freedom.
Considering the many countries around the world where citizens are prosecuted or even killed for expressing objection to authoritative figures, American citizens are lucky to live in a country where these basic freedoms are recognized. The first amendment is important because it established a sense of good, American morals and ethics while carrying out the duties of the constitution. After all, marijuana would be an incredibly non- confrontational topic without all the ethical and moral discrepancies surrounding it. The first amendment possibly even defines the meaning of America’s nickname, “The Land of Opportunity. Weather practicing a religion or simply stating an opinion, first amendment rights are freely exercised throughout America on a daily basis. Unfortunately, at the same time, tenth amendment rights are violated practically every day via the federal overpayment’s recent crackdown on state-legal marijuana dispensaries. Susan Shelley, in her 2012 campaign for congress in Californians 30th district, offers a presidential interpretation of the tenth amendment: “[President] James Madison explained that the federal government would have only the powers delegated to it by the Constitution.
Those powers would be ‘few and defined,’ he said, while the powers remaining in the state governments would be ‘numerous and indefinite”‘ (CTD. In Shelley). These interpretations of the bill of rights directly speak to the legitimacy of the current marijuana legislation. “If he people of each state choose to discriminative marijuana in some circumstances, the Constitution plainly reserves to them the power to do so” (Shelley). Still, today, the federal government ceases to recognize the constitutional rights of the states, and their negligence will not go unnoticed.
The same year that saw the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 begin its crusade against marijuana, also saw the founding of NORMAL, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORMAL). NORMAL has hit many milestones in their pursuit of reform. Among the many, one of Normal’s most impressive achievements is the introduction of the very first Arizona legalization bill into united States Congress in 2011 (NORMAL). NORMAL is the pioneer of marijuana reform, but they are not alone in their efforts. Another marijuana reform organization, the Marijuana policy Project (MAP).
The MAP was the leading figure in Colorado historic legalization of marijuana, and continues to report that today, in our country, “there are more arrests for marijuana possession each year than for all violent crimes combined” (Marijuana Policy Project). These reform movements reflect the ability of everyday citizens in our country to change real laws. In 1 970, the Asia of medical marijuana-legal states to illegal states was zero to 50 (Reeve). By 2010, 81% of Americans were in favor of legalizing and taxing marijuana (BBC News and The Washington post 1).
Currently, 24 states have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use (Bauer). It is encouraged to participate in organizations like NORMAL and MAP if in favor of marijuana legalization. While the contrasting circumstances of the marijuana laws seem to be a product of a constitutional loophole, It is argued that the government’s recent actions regarding these laws resemble that of federal coercion and legal entrapment. Luckily, the NORMAL organization is equipped with attorneys who take special interest in investigating the errors of the federal government’s marijuana prohibition.
In 2011, attorneys Cumin, Michael and Silver filed a lawsuit against the four federal districts in California alleging the federal government’s entrapment of marijuana patients, caregivers, and distribute (NORMAL). “Cumin, Michael, and Silver [also] argue the government has engaged in ‘equitable estoppels’, which most people commonly think of as ‘entrapment. ‘ That is to say, you can’t bust a person for committing a crime when the authorities told [them] it wasn’t a crime to do it” Belleville). Organizations like NORMAL and MAP seem to have influenced other organizations to take similar action.
In 201 1, Americans for Safe Access (AS) filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice with the same argument that the federal government’s recent crackdown on marijuana is obstructing the rights laid out in the tenth amendment (Slum). The complaint states that the federal government “has instituted a policy to dismantle the medical marijuana laws of the State of California and coerce its municipalities to pass bans on medical marijuana dispensaries” (CTD. In Slum). These unrighteous raciest of our federal government are a direct violation of state and individual rights.
With the marijuana reform movement sweeping the nation, a new factor is taken into consideration in regards to marijuana: How would this new market affect our economy? Considering America’s fallen economic state, it seems odd that federal government would be opposed to increasing their tax revenue with what is thought to be a “gold mine” of a market. Their concern is that legalization may end up costing the government more money than it would bring in (US Office of National Drug Control Policy).
The statistics n which they base their concern is the alcohol prohibition repeal’s effect on government economy. In a 2009 edition of Business Week’s “Debate Room,” former DEAD agent Robert Stuntman compares the social cost of alcohol-related problems that resulted from the prohibition’s repeal to the possible social costs of marijuana-related problems should it be legalized. Taking a look at how the legalization of alcohol is affecting the economy, we see that the U. S. Collects around $8 billion a year from alcohol taxes; in turn, the U. S. Penis about $1 85 billion in alcohol social costs (Stuntman). That is not including the mount the federal government saved from the original repeal of alcohol prohibition. The social costs of alcohol refers to the money the government spends on alcohol-related problems such as violations of liquor laws, drunk driving accidents and government-funded alcohol abuse programs. Given this statistic suggesting a $1 77 billion loss in the alcohol prohibition repeal, there seems to be legitimate concern that the social cost of marijuana legalization might exceed the revenue it brings in.
Would we really be spending this kind of money on marijuana-related social costs? Because marijuana has not been glazed and taxed, we do not have a realistic number to represent the social costs of marijuana legalization. However, we cannot assume that we would be shelling out that same number, $1 85 billion, in marijuana-related social costs. Since alcohol seems to be twice as harmful as marijuana (Heisenberg and Nut), it could safely be assumed that we might be spending half the amount in social costs on marijuana-related problems, giving us a $92. 5 billion figure to work with.
Stephen Gaston finds that there are as many as 60 million consumers currently spending up to $110 billion a year on the federally illegal marijuana market. Based on his calculations, he continues to report that legalizing and taxing marijuana could bring in as much as $1 00 billion dollars in new revenue (Gaston). Just $10 billion short of what America is already spending, the revenue would fall into the hands of the government rather than the organized crime cartels. Furthermore, the federal government would save the $20 billion it spends each year in enforcing marijuana prohibition (Quinn).
When the $100 billion in new revenue is added to the $20 billion saved in enforcement, a $1 20 billion gain in seen marijuana legalization. With the $120 billion in revenue and the possibility of $92. In social costs, the predicted revenue may actually absorb the predicted social cost of marijuana legalization. The main problem legalization faces is that for many, the idea may be ahead of their time. Even though legalizing marijuana completely could be a huge economy booster and could help to pull America out of its financial hole, it may be too soon for the ultra-conservatives in the federal government to see the benefits of legalization.
Perhaps legalization will be a gradual process as newer, more reform politicians join the federal government and older politicians retire out of it. The federal government’s orbiting of marijuana began in 1 970, and marijuana activists are just now beginning to slowly reform these laws state by state. America may need a few more years of reforming marijuana laws before considering complete legalization. The marijuana reform movement is already making a mark, with Colorado and Washington legalizing recreational marijuana use state-wide (Hickey).
The federal government may need to see an increase in the successfulness of marijuana and the responsibility Of its users in the smaller settings of these two states before they would consider nation-wide legalization. With the help of the medical community and the marijuana reform movement, the tarnished name that is Marijuana will hopefully have a chance at redemption. We remember the story of Charlotte, a story so profound, it is hard to forget, and we mustn’t turn our backs on the Constitution.
Because of the controversial opinions of marijuana’s effects, its battle must be fought very carefully. The possibility of the marijuana market improving the economy is not to be ignored, and the recent findings in science and medicine speak volumes to marijuana’s credibility. The circumstances of medical marijuana, namely the isolation of the significant ingredient in the plant, are comparable to that of the invention of Morphine, when a 20-year-old German pharmacy apprentice had successfully extracted opium from the poppy flower (Science Museum Group).
This striking similarity between the marijuana plant’s discoveries and those of a modern- day, plant-derived medication causes one to wonder if it is time for America to re-classify marijuana in the CSS The United States Department of Justice’s passing of the Controlled Substances Act of 1 970, had classified marijuana as an illegal drug with “currently no accepted medical use” (US Dept. F Justice). The word, “currently,” could certainly be argued in excess. “Currently’ suggests that no advancements in medical science have been made in the research of marijuana over the past half-century’. Currently/’ suggests that after this document was written in 1970, nothing has changed. To the contrary, numerous successes and milestones, such as those previously discussed, have been achieved in marijuana research over the years. Perhaps if the federal government would like to maintain a more fitting copy of their document, the word, “currently” could be replaced with, “certainly. ” Even so, NY statement claiming that marijuana has no current or certain medical use would still be inaccurate. Given the many medical milestones and advancements, it is clear that marijuana has indeed improved the quality of life.