By John Knetemann
Recently, I was in Washington D.C. for the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Conference and Lobby Day, where hundreds of students gather to talk and learn about their passion for ending the Drug War. At the end of the conference, students make meetings with their senators and representatives in congress about particular issues concerning sensible drug policy. I did this, and got an interesting response from a senator's staffer. While we were focusing on particular bills being presented in the House and Senate, I veered off on one of my conversations to ask about medical marijuana.
At the beginning of the meeting I asked about the Senator's views on reforming drug policy, in general. I asked this question because the senator never seemed to say much about drug policy, and just swept the issue under the rug. But the answer I got was not surprising in the least. It was a wordy answer that didn't mean much of anything, except I got one answer that I really wanted to capitalize on. The staffer told me that the Senator was against legalizing medical marijuana in my state. Shocker.
So I went on to ask why the senator wants to deny access from patients that could benefit greatly from medical marijuana, and that is where I got the answer that surprised me. The staffer explained to me that the senator was not a doctor and had no medical experience, therefore could not support legalizing medical marijuana... That has to be the absolute worst argument ever made against the legalizing of medical marijuana.
Because he has no medical experience? Well then he should support legalizing medical marijuana, and leave prescribing medical substances to doctors (AKA people that have a lot of experience with medicine). Legalizing medical marijuana doesn't force certain patients to use it as a medication, it just allows doctors to use it as a tool that they prescribe to patients. Access to medical marijuana would only be allowed to people who are prescribed by medical professionals.
The staffer then tried to explain to me that in California there is a lot of abuse of medical marijuana and that a lot of people who don't really need it end up having access to it. Sure, that might be true. But if that is the case, then we should criminalize pretty much all prescription drugs. If some people abusing a prescription is what's holding us back from allowing medical marijuana then we should also prohibit any kind of opiate pain killer that is also abused (and much more dangerous). Not to mention, it just sounds absolutely ridiculous to punish people who actually need medical marijuana because other people seem to abuse it. We are punishing the innocent for the crimes of the guilty by making medical marijuana illegal for this reason.
I suggest that you try to get a meeting with your senator or representative and try to start the conversation on medical marijuana or legalizing marijuana. I think that you will find their reasons for prohibition are pretty weak.