It seems that there is a portion of the cannabis movement that is okay with only sick people having access to cannabis. There is a “we must put the patients first BEFORE we work on ending prohibition completely” sentiment I have observed lately during debates over state initiatives.
I call BULLSHIT. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have been “fighting for patients rights” since way before 1995. We have put nearly all of the movement resources into advancing this concept for many years, and to our credit, we have done a good job of convincing most of America that sick people should have access to cannabis medicines.
But we have also done a poor job of putting forth a cannabis environment that is conducive to the real medical industry and its professionals. The “medical only” market we have created continues to come under intense scrutiny because from the outside looking in, it does not look like a medical situation at all. Most major media done on medical cannabis include a point (or many points) on the increasing skepticism of this growing industry. People just do not see fat blunts and “medical” cannabis cups as true to life medical applications of cannabis.
It is this giant lie we continue to tell ourselves so much that we have begun to believe it is true.
On one hand we have advocacy groups swearing up and down the country that this is all 100% legit medical use, while at the same time representatives of this very medical advocacy groups participate heavily in extremely recreational seeming events, and their staff and followers mock the medical uses of marijuana by consistently taking dosages far beyond any medical applications. These groups have no problem setting up their booth right next to a doctor who may be holding office hours at the local cannabis cup or Cypress Hill concert, but then want to look down their nose at these “recreational users” who are “screwing things up for real patients.”
Spare me the rhetoric. The unfortunate side effect of working so hard on medical only laws and policies is that we have not focused much time, energy, or resources on the real issue of cannabis prohibition….MASS INCARCERATION OF MOSTLY POOR PEOPLE.
Some folks have taken their self-righteous medical only stance so far as to say that they are not for adult use legalization because it could affect their rights as a medical patient. You know what makes a person really sick? PRISON. And not only does it make that person sick, it makes their entire family and everyone who ever cared about them sick too. When a young black youth is arrested for selling weed and gets a five-to-ten mandatory minimum sentence, not only does he risk real actual sickness from living in a dirty infested jail with limited healthcare, but he loses his life and standing in the community forever.
So while I understand that your rheumatoid arthritis is a bitch, just know that sitting in prison for weed is a much bigger bitch. We lock up poor people for weed at alarming rates in this country and terrorize people through unlawful search and seizures all in the name of prohibition. But do not worry, Mr. Medical Only Cannabis Activist…as long as you can have your weed, screw all of those folks, right?
Wrong. DEAD WRONG.
If you are so selfish that you would sacrifice another human’s freedom and right to life to only save yourself and your rights to use cannabis, then you are just as selfish, greedy, and evil as the bastards who made these laws, and who continue to endforce them. If you have convinced yourself that you are so damn sick that it is okay to continue to feed our youth into a violent and dangerous prison system so as not to upset the gentle balance of your safe access then you a.) lack courage; and b.) are a major part of the problem.
Here is a reality check for many who use cannabis “medically.” Your use is not really medical at all…at least by the normal terms and standards of what is medical in this country. So before you go doubling down on your bullshit position, do me a favor…consider these questions:
Question one…In a medical only cannabis market, cannabis will eventually be prescribed by a doctor when medical rescheduling takes place. What medicines prescribed by a doctor on the market now are smoked? Did you come up with none? I did too.
Second question….What medicines prescribed by doctors are whole plant medicines? I came up with none. What did you get?
Third question….What medicines are prescribed where you can get as much as you want to use over any period of time? What medicine does a doctor tell you to roll up as fat of a portion as you want and smoke away? Oh yeah…there are no smoked medicines. Well what prescription do they tell you it is okay to use as much as makes you feel good and pass it around to your friends? Did you come up with none again? Me too…
Fourth question…Which prescribed medicine are you allowed to grow at your house? None again? Damn…
One more question….What medicine prescribed by a doctor allows them to write prescriptions with no oversight or scrutiny from the FDA and DEA? None again? Damn…
The point I am making is that most of these medical only crusaders do not understand that their use, as it currently stands, is NOT MEDICAL AT ALL. If we continue to fight for a more medical cannabis environment, while ignoring the horrors of mass incarceration because we believe this is a more palatable and winnable argument for our cause, then we are sure to end up painting ourselves into a corner we never wanted to be in in the first place. You will eventually get the old, “You guys said you wanted medical only marijuana. Well here you go. Enjoy your Satixex or go back to being a criminal.”
Some have tried to say that these are two different and separate issues. Nothing could be more patently wrong. The medical use of marijuana is NOT a separate issue from adult use legalization. True herbal cannabis will never be truly free as a medicine to use as people want until we realize adult use legalization. We will see an out of control pharmaceutical industry find ways to influence lawmakers to limit the very definition of medical cannabis, and ensure that you can only buy cannabis medicines from them. If patients truly want real and meaningful access to herbal cannabis at much lower costs, then cannabis legalization for all is the ONLY ANSWER.
Some of you need to quit with the medical charades too. Nothing is sadder than a bunch of stoners faking back injuries and standing around talking about how sick they all are to justify them taking 20 fat dabs and eating a 500mg brownie. The jig is up. People do not believe you any more and you are making us all look bad. Even my brother with cancer who had three of his ribs removed does not pul the medical card as much as most of you.
And before all of the true-to-life medical cannabis patients who do suffer greatly jump down my throat for this piece, just know that it is the interference, noise, and chaos of this integrated quasi-legalization movement masquerading as some group of healers and alternative medicine experts that is really standing between you and the medical industry buying into the medical applications of cannabis.
I have spent the past year plus talking to cancer research doctors and oncologists at Stanford Medical Center. While all of them understand the medical benefits that their patients see from using cannabis, none want to be associated with the medical cannabis industry as it stands because they do not see the current situation as being medical at all in any way. So that is not me speaking…that is a team of some of the most qualified cancer researchers in the world.
The cannabis movement continues to bury its head in the sand and tries to believe that if they continue to repeat the same mantra over and over that somehow things will get better. Well, while we have provided limited protections for those in our society who can afford to pay a doctor to write them a note for weed, the fact is that over the past 15 years+, since Prop. 215 passed, MORE PEOPLE HAVE GONE TO PRISON FOR WEED…not less.
So while we may be winning the medical only battle (which I have shown will result in limited variety and availability to less and less qualified people as time goes on), WE ARE LOSING THE WAR ON CANNABIS FREEDOM. While we continue to divert huge portions of our movement’s resources to justifying the medical only approach, hundreds of thousands of poor, and mostly minority, people go to prison for weed every day.
Until we can step back and understand that we are not even asking for what we really want because we have been led to believe that we must “save the medical patients first” then we should not be surprised when what we get is a very limited medical market with people still going to prison for weed…A LOT. If we spent as much money and time exposing the tragedy of mass incarceration and the failed war on drugs as we have on trying to convince the world we are all very sick and that only 10 joints of the chronic-bubonic will save us, weed would be legal already.
This movement needs to re-prioritize its message ans its implementation of resources to be more effective in ending the war on cannabis. It is not a “do this first and we will get to that later” issue any more. LATER IS NOW. It has been damn near two decades since we began the big “we are all very sick” march towards legalization. Maybe it is time to switch gears, accept that people do not believe us any more, and begin to attack the tragic aberration that is the mass incarceration of our own people. WE CAN END THIS MADNESS…but we cannot until we begin to really ask for what we want…and more so..what we really need.
So while I am very sorry you are not feeling well, my friends are sitting in prison rotting away for weed right now. Their situation is MUCH MORE dire than yours. So when a person says “we have to save the patients first” remind them that by saving everyone, we save the patients; and we save the lives of thousands of good people being railroaded by a prison industrial complex gone bad. It is no longer okay to ignore the opportunity cost of not addressing the core issue of mass incarceration.
This is a fight we can win, and it begins with us demanding that they quit taking ALL people to jail for weed….not just the sick…and certainly not the “sick.”