There is a growing national movement to rethink marijuana use. Some experts believe marijuana is a beneficial plant that might play a primary role in cancer treatment and prevention. Opponents say it is a dangerous “gateway” drug that leads to more serious narcotic use and will undermine our social fabric.
Voters in five states—Oregon, Washington, Arizona, South Dakota and California—and 21 U.S. cities across the country, will consider new ballot initiatives to decriminalize or legalize marijuana for medical and or adult recreational use in November. Since 1996, 14 states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana laws.
Until 1937, marijuana, whose botanical name is cannabis, was a widely used remedy for all sorts of ailments from nausea and anxiety to epilepsy and colicky babies. Chances are good your great grandmother used Cannabis indica for labor pains, like many generations of women before her.
Clinical trials conducted by the American Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana advocacy group, show cannabis to be an effective treatment for cancer and AIDS patients who often suffer from clinical depression, nausea and resulting weight loss due to chemotherapy and other aggressive treatments. While doctors in states without legalized medical marijuana laws can’t prescribe its use, they can legally recommend marijuana therapy to a patient—and many do.
Is America’s opinion of cannabis changing? Consider this:
In July 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that patients treated at its hospitals and clinics can use medical marijuana in states where it is legal, a policy clarification that veterans have sought for several years.
On the website America Speaking Out, Congressional Republicans asked the public to be part of “building its new governing agenda.” Decriminalizing and or legalizing marijuana use was among the highest ranking idea submitted in the “American Values” category.
The Teamsters added 40 new members to their roll this month by organizing the nation's first unionized group of marijuana growers.