Recently in Florida news, voters are debating about the topic of legalizing medicinal marijuana. But one thing these voters should really focus on is if this is possible. As of 2012 sixteen states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana (“Medical”, 1). Although in these states medicinal marijuana is legal, we don’t just live under the state law.
We also live under a larger law, the federal government. “In 1996 activists in California, led by Dennis Peron, organized a ballot proposition to legalize medical marijuana. Proposition 215, also called the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, passed by 55. 58 percent of the vote. The proposition, as later expanded, allows patients to grow, possess, and collectively distribute marijuana for personal medical use on the recommendation of a licensed physician” (Medical, 1).
Still, the federal government threatened to sanction or prosecute physicians who recommended medical marijuana. On October 25, 2001, thirty Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided a Los Angeles Resource Center and shut down operations. California’s government with this because of the fact it goes against the simple constitutional right of states’ rights. But with this in mind Ed Denson brings up a series of questions, should California be able to legalize medicinal marijuana? Should Hawaii be able to legalize gay marriage?
Should Arkansas be able to segregate school systems? (The, 1). Personally, I do believe this raid was legal, simply due to the fact the state of California has disrespected the law of the federal government. No if, ands, or buts about it. Also, I believe that the federal government should remain in power as it is currently. Therefore these raids should be done on a regular basis to make sure that the states follow the laws. If states can’t follow the federal’s laws then why should they be allowed to make their own?
The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule One substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and has no medical value. “The first shift in the government’s approach came in 1978, after glaucoma patient Robert Randall sued the FDA and other government agencies following his criminal conviction for cultivating Cannabis. In Randall v. US he argued that marijuana was a medical necessity for him, permissible under the common law doctrine of necessity” (Medical, 1).
Randall was true with his statement, “Medical researchers have concluded that it can be helpful in treating pain associated with chemotherapy, postoperative recovery, and spinal cord injury, as well as neuropathic pain, which is often experienced by patients with metastatic cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes, and HIV/AIDS” (Medical, 1). In the medicinal marijuana there is a chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This chemical is safe to treat vomiting and nausea. But along with these positive effects, there are the negative effects to look at also.
Marijuana contains chemicals that can increase risks of lung cancer along with respiratory tract cancers and deterioration of the immune system. Users of marijuana inhale the marijuana smoke more deeply than tobacco smoke. They hold it in longer which increases the lungs’ exposure to harmful substances in it. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), long-term use of marijuana can lead to addiction. It is also associated with increased rates of depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
Although there are debates between whether lung cancer is really triggered by marijuana, marijuana smokers have been found with respiratory problems normally found in tobacco smokers. These problems include daily coughs and increased risk of lung infections. “Acknowledging marijuana’s therapeutic value in treating pain, nausea, and loss of appetite, NIDA does not endorse it as a medication, because it contains many chemicals with unknown health effects and because it is usually consumed by smoking, which is associated with health risks.
NIDA states that a better course is to develop purified or synthetic drugs from the cannabinoids in marijuana, which would deliver “more tailored medications with improved risk/benefit profiles. ”” (Medical, 1). All in all, medicinal marijuana can be helpful when used safely. But due to these alarming effects and the fact that this drug can become addictive it is best that the federal government does not legalize it. From personal experience, a few of my family members were diagnosed with cancer.
While they were undergoing treatment, they felt pain just as other patients did. But they never needed marijuana for the effects of chemotherapy when they had prescribed medicine from the doctors. I think that what the government is doing with Washington and Colorado, legalizing marijuana for recreational use as well as medicinal, is none other than an experiment. They want to see how this drug effects the everyday life and if it’s even worth thinking of legalizing it nationwide.
Not to repeat myself, but when thoughts of this issue come up I still think about Ed Denson’s series of questions, if California’s state government is able to legalize marijuana, then why cant Arkansas’ state government segregate schools? I mean that’s what state rules are for right? Works Cited “Medical Marijuana. ” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. “The Constitution and Marijuana. ” Civil Liberties Monitoring Project. N. p. , n. d. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. <http://www. civilliberties. org/spr97const. html.