December 16, 2013
It seems to be simply a matter of time before the United States federal government legalizes marijuana for medicinal purposes. Whether it’s 10 years or 50 years, it almost seems inevitable.
And even if the feds don’t act, states are taking the proverbial bull by the horns and enacting legislation that is intended to help make the acquisition of medicinal cannabis easier. Since 1998, 20 states and Washington D.C. have taken steps to legalize medical marijuana.
Even more states, such as Maryland, have enacted laws that allow defendants in a court of law to claim medical necessity as a mitigating circumstance on charges of marijuana possession. And in North Carolina, the N.C. Medical Cannabis Act got past only the first reading before dying in committee in February. You can bet, however, that’s not the last time such a bill is introduced.
What makes us so sure this is the writing on the wall? For starters, the South American country of Uruguay recently decriminalized the growing and possession of marijuana. It becomes the first country in the world to regulate and tax the marijuana market.
“A whole new spectrum of opportunities opens up,” Juan Vaz, head of the Uruguayan Cannabis Studies Association that campaigned for the legalization, told Reuters news service. “It’s the end of the hypocrisy of prohibitionist policies that failed to combat drug trafficking.”
Marijuana is big business — has been for years though, admittedly, in an illegal manner. There is a growing number of experts, including those in law enforcement, that feel the U.S. War on Drugs has been for nothing; that it has criminalized and jailed people for actions that, by history, will be judged with a more favorable view.
We’re not suggesting marijuana should become as common as cigarettes and alcohol — at least, not yet. And not now. But certainly, as the ideas and opinions of medical experts such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta, renowned brain surgeon who now believes cannabis can help protect and heal the brain, the discussion of the legalization of medical marijuana might be worth a second round.