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Marijuana Pros and Cons

ONE of the more controversial issues this side of Heaven is the marijuana business. The usual definition of marijuana is “cannabis, especially as smoked as or in cigarettes.”

And cannabis is, of course, the plant that is used to produce hemp fibre, and also used as a psychotropic drug, chiefly in cigarettes.

Cannabis has a bazillion other names across the world this side of Hades. These include–but are not limited to–marihuana, marijuana, hashish, bhang, hemp, kef, kif, charas, ganja, sinsemilla…More informally, marijuana is known as dope, hash, grass, pot, blow, draw, stuff, Mary Jane, tea, the weed, gold, skunk-weed, skunk, reefer, rope, smoke, gage, boo, charge, jive, mootah, pod, wacky-backy, locoweed, dagga, zol, green, mezz.

For a product to have so many ‘other’ names is arguably ample testimony to its lucrativeness (for growers and dealers) and desirability (for addicts)…

In many countries, marijuana is seen as a hydra-headed monster with more lives than the legendary cat with nine lives! But, that’s another story…The tale here today is about the marijuana business, which seems to have the US government running in ever-widening circles, chasing its own tail–so to speak.

While the Federal Government statutorily frowns on marijuana every which way–medicinal, recreational or whatever–State Governments widely differ among themselves, and with the Federal Government, regarding the medical and recreational uses of cannabis. Keep your shirt on, unclench your fists – and I’ll explain…

It was on August 2nd in 1937 that the government of the United States passed the Marihuana Tax Act, whose effect was ostensibly “to render marihuana and all its by-products illegal…” The law imposed excise duty and transfer tax on cannabis sales.

However, it was repealed by Congress in 1970 on the back of the 1969 Supreme Court decision in ‘Leary vs.

US’ which ruled the statute “unconstitutional on the ground that it required ‘self-incrimination!’” Congress just as soon replaced the Marihuana Tax Act with the 1970 ‘Controlled Substances Act…’ What with one thing leading to another, at issue is basically whether the marijuana business should be legalized–albeit in certain respects and aspects–or continue to statutorily be the anathematic psychotropic drug it has generally been in many countries of the world. Can this really be happening in the US, the self-styled ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?’

Sheesh… Let’s look at diametrically-opposed perceptions of medical use of marijuana between physicians, a former president, and a Federal Agency… 1].

One Medical Doctor: “There’s now promising research into the use of marijuana that could impact tens of thousands of children and adults, including treatment for cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

“Also, marijuana could greatly reduce the demand for narcotics, and simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses, the greatest cause of preventable death in the US... “Marijuana is a medicine that should be studied and treated like any other medicine.”

[See ‘It’s Time for a Medical Marijuana Revolution,’ Sanjay Gupta, MD. Medical Correspondent, ; Apr. 20, 2016]. 2]. Another Medical Doctor: “There’s no such thing as ‘medical marijuana...’ The risks of marijuana use are well-known by the scientific community, even if they’re downplayed by corporate interests wishing to get rich from legalization.

“Apathy, lost productivity, addictive disease, deterioration in intellectual function, motor vehicle accidents and psychosis are among the negative outcomes… For nearly all conditions for which marijuana has purported benefits, we already have safe medications of demonstrated value.”

[See Stuart Gitlow, MD, MPH, MBA. ‘Testimony to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.’ July 13, 2016]. 3]. White House: “Not only do I think that carefully-prescribed medical use of marijuana may be appropriate – and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue.

But I’m also on record as saying the more we treat some of the issues related to drug abuse from a public health model – and not just from an incarceration model – the better off we’re going to be.” [Barack Obama; 44th US President (2009-2017) WEED 3: The Marijuana Revolution, CNN. Apr 20, 2015]. 4].

Federal Agency: “There’s sound evidence that smoking marijuana is harmful. A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services agencies–including the Food and Drug Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and National Institute for Drug Abuse – concluded that no sound scientific studies supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for medical use.

There’re alternative FDA-approved medications for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana... [FDA: ‘Inter-Agency Advisory Regarding Claims That Smoked Marijuana is Medicine,” .

Apr. 20, 2006]. Well, well, well… Is marijuana good or bad medicine? Cheers! [israellyimo@gmail.com]

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Author: Karl Lyimo

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