Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The case for cannabis
By Debbie Adams
Since coming out as a cannabis advocate in my efforts to enlighten city officials, I have been educating myself to discover compelling facts about cannabis and its very long history, going all the way back to God, who said in Genesis 1:29: "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth. ..."
I find it fascinating that for over 5,000 years, this nontoxic plant was used medicinally and industrially. Evidence of the hemp plant being used in medicine — and for recreational enjoyment — can be found in societies as diverse as ancient China, Rome and Egypt.
The hemp plant was first brought to North America by Jamestown settlers in 1611. Believe it or not, it used to be patriotic to grow cannabis. It was known that hemp fibers were strong and durable, and provided excellent raw materials for paper, ship sails, fabric and rope.
According to the diaries of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, they farmed hemp.
Cannabis emerged as a mainstream medicine in the West in the 19th century. Studies in the 1840s found that "cannabis suppressed headaches, increased appetites and aided people to sleep." Cannabis made its way into the US Pharmacopeia by 1850, which listed it as treatment for numerous afflictions.
In the 1930s, along came Harry J. Anslinger, commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and the architect of national prohibition, who demonized cannabis and fueled the "war on drugs." With the aid of William Randolph Hearst and exceptional yellow journalism, there was a coordinated effort by the government to shut down marijuana with fear and intimidation.The temperance movement of the 1890s recommended cannabis as an alternative to alcohol consumption since alcohol abuse increased the risk of domestic violence, while cannabis did not. I believe law enforcement would agree this still holds true today.
According to Webster's New World Dictionary, yellow journalism is "the use of cheaply sensational or unscrupulous methods in newspapers, etc. to attract or influence readers." In other words, we have been hoodwinked for over 80 years. When you research all the info that is now available, it does shed a fresh light on cannabis.
Today we're learning a host of amazing benefits associated with cannabis. The reality is that this nontoxic plant that grows from the earth is something of a wonder drug. It's no wonder that pharmaceutical companies are against its legalization as it will no doubt greatly impact their profits.
There is no disagreement or argument whatsoever that cannabis does not belong in the hands of children for recreational use. But isn't that also to be said of the other legal adult intoxicants, like tobacco and alcohol, that are glamorized and often come with future death certificates? It is proven cannabis is far less dangerous than either substance. Alcohol, tobacco, opioids all have staggering death statistics, while zero deaths have been reported from cannabis consumption.
There is a movement calling for the end of global marijuana prohibition and to remove it from the schedule of controlled substances. Propaganda has been force-fed to our society for generations to become embedded in our culture. We seriously need to consider how much we have learned and evolved in 100 years. It is time to change the outdated beliefs that have been a burden on society for decades causing more harm than good.
Cannabis has been recreationally legal in Colorado for over two years. From all reports, things are going rather well. The majority of Americans support cannabis legalization. Shouldn't it be our human and civic duty to become educated instead of holding steadfast onto falsehoods?
Now is the time to lift the misinformation stigma and to be enlightened, to encourage public education, to open up the conversation and to benefit the community with regulation and taxation of this thriving green operation.
FYI: For a complete historical timeline go to www./medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.timeline. Drug Policy Alliance, the nation's leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights has valuable information on their websitedrugpolicy.org as well as norml.org working to reform marijuana laws.