Mahatma Gandhi was once asked: “What do you think of Western civilization?” He replied, “I think it would be a good idea.”
Today, we might have to say the same thing about medical marijuana. Even though 90 percent of the American people support it, the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that last week the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board rejected petitions to allow medical cannabis to be used to treat traumatic brain injury, hepatitis, hepatitis C, chronic insomnia, and major depressive disorder that is unresponsive to other treatments.”
The Tribune-Democrat explains:
“Pennsylvania’s 367,925 active medical marijuana patients have all been diagnosed as having one or more of 23 serious medical conditions, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, anxiety disorder, cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and opioid use disorder and chronic pain.
Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said board members were concerned the applications for traumatic brain injury, hepatitis and Hepatitis C were overly broad and would have allowed people to qualify for medical marijuana cards in cases that would be inappropriate. The board was concerned that juveniles could qualify for medical marijuana if they suffered acute traumatic brain injuries. Johnson said there is evidence that medical marijuana could benefit patients suffering from chronic hepatitis and chronic Hepatitis C, but that board members felt it would be inappropriate to allow medical marijuana for people who’d had acute cases of hepatitis….”
One of the prohibitionists’ most disingenuous arguments against medical marijuana initiatives was that “We don’t vote on medicines.”
Of course, that is literally true. The FDA supposedly evaluates proposed pharmaceutical industry products to determine if they are safe and effective. It is a hugely expensive process that only works because the pharmaceutical companies have patents on the prospective medicines.
However, the medical marijuana initiatives were actually votes on criminal law, which is certainly within the purview of the people. Sick people were unwilling to die in pain or live with their heads in toilets while the police and the politicians lied to them… and about them.
Of course, when patients no longer had to live in fear of arrest and could speak publicly about it, it became impossible to convince the American people that the system was protecting the public, much less the patients.
It is particularly ironic that Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written, would now deprive sick and dying Americans of their right to use a plant that was widely grown by the authors of those founding documents.
It would be easy — but pointless — to attack the hubris of this board. Sadly, they are simply a manifestation of the utter failure of our medical system that I call the “Quackocracy,” dominated by the American Medical Associations, including the state franchisees, that are still actively opposing state medical marijuana initiatives, including – most recently – in Mississippi!
This arrogance is actually a major argument for the complete legalization of “recreational” marijuana. Yes, there may be a difference between medical and recreational use, but clearly, that is not a decision we can leave to governments that have lied to us for generations.
Theoretically… it should be possible to regulate cannabis and cannabinoids in a way that “protects” the public, but the Federal government — with NO OBJECTION from the Quackoracy — has long blocked research on cannabis and still shows no interest in possible treatments for any medical conditions — even for COVID during the pandemic.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died — and more are dying every day — because people don’t believe the medical establishment. The medical establishment has squandered its credibility on the Drug War, and continues to do so.
Yes, the truth would make us free. “I think it would be a good idea.”
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and author of CBD Wax and Its Benefits.