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Honored to be here, and legalization of pot progress-hurdles

Briefly, I am thrilled to be permitted the "diary" honor, and hope to prove that to be a good decision.

To dive right in to a topic, I'd like to share my current thinking and perspective on medical marijuana laws being either a stepping stone towards full legalization, likely taxed and regulated.  Although I'm a sensitive guy, I welcome feedback, including feedback on any ignorant or improper use of the diary.  Type and learn.

As many know, there is an ongoing debate as to whether laws permitting medical use of marijuana are an incremental step towards full legalization, (taxed and regulated  I'm sure), OR is MMJ what has been called, to the great dismay of many in the movement, a "box canyon," leading nowhere and slowing legalization with the diversion and with the govt. excuse of "we gave you medical, now what are you complaining about?"  Reminds me of Tony Soprano, dealing with Carm on signing the papers for her to be financially protected.  Of the four, he signs all but the critical paper.  "I gave you three out of four."

I see both happening. In Colorado, medical (MMJ) appears to have been an incremental and  very important  part in reaching the current legalization for recreational pot for adults.  We've had medical since 2000.

In other states, (and before recreational in Colorado), I see two major problems.  First, it is taking silly amounts of time to implement the will of the electorate.  The voters spoke clearly, confirming the more recent polling, passed the laws permitting various approaches to MMJ,  and still the politicians create arbitrary and unreasonable obstructionist tactic to slow the process.  The elected ones get to say "see, we have legalized medical," while doing all they can to keep the medicine form the patients.  Disingenuous comes to mind.  Narcissistic babysitting comes to mind.  Paternalistic "we really know what's good for you" comes tom mind.  Sanity in government, and a willingness of elected people to do their job at even the most bass level are not what I'm seeing a lot of.

The second recurring problem with MMJ legislation is really harsh, cruel, unscientific, and a real slap in the face to many vets from all of our police actions and wars.  States with medical generally have a magic LIST of medical conditions worthy of MMJ treatment, regardless of what an individual finds helpful..  

 If your medical problem is on the list, you are possibly fine obtaining medicine. I'm saving the employment challenge for another discussion.   If your health problem is not listed you are (fill in some obscene word; any will do).  Colorado and many (all??) MMJ states do not list PTSD as a permissible MMJ health issue.  The evidence, although mostly anecdotal so far, appears quite strong that cannabis is  of tremendous value in helping those suffering with PTSD. Does it make sense to deny relief to a vet, or to give them the choice of either suffering unnecessarily, or of breaking the law in obtaining their MMJ from the "underground?"

Another example:  scoriatic  arthritis is not listed in the New Jersey MMJ law.  I personally know a NJ resident suffering from that auto-immune health problem.  Pain he describes as "needles being placed under and pushed through my fingernails"  literally vanishes with a toke or two.  While not all might experience this type of instant dramatic relief, some do.  How can we claim to be civilized and at the same time deny proven effective medication to our citizens?  This patient refuses to take opiates.  He has said, on the record under oath in court, sadly in a custody case, that he'd rather smoke or vape pot than take heroin.  He made reference to the opiates being generally the same as putting heroin into his body.  He refuses to do that for a list of reasons, including people dying in this arms when he was a teenager from drug over doses while he was driving them to the hospital, as well as including his generally stubborn nature,  He also enjoys the "unpleasant side effects" as do many others.

Bi Polar issues are generally excluded from the state lists of "approved medical issues."  Again, with personal observation and anecdotal support, SOME suffering from bipolar issues, and for whom the normal pharmaceuticals are not effective, have found pot to be of tremendous benefit.  Depression falls into the same dark whole of "unworthy for relief."  Of course the list goes on, and is not yet fully known, and not FULLY studied.  We have a huge amount of science already regarding MMJ.  See PubMed online.  A search for "marijuana" shows over 18,000 experiments already done and published.  When you hear someone positing that we "know so little and have so much to study," compare cannabis, no direct deaths in well over 5000 years of medical and recreational use, with Thalidomide, a scourge of the '60s, producing horrendous birth defects of the worst kind.  It was of course FDA approved, and prescribed as an anti-depressant for many pregnant people.

Even Colorado refused, upon reconsiderations as permitted, to add PTSD to the list of the blessed medical uses, and PTSD sufferers are forced to buy recreationally, paying higher prices.  At least in Colorado, that option exists.  While not perfect, it is better than directing people to become criminals to obtain medical relief.

While we see TV prime time ads for approved drugs for things like sexual issues, carrying the warnings in the TV ads that side effects although rare, may include everything from insanity with suicide, and even death.  The warning label for marijuana used medically might be generally "may cause anxiety, may cause euphoria, may impair driving especially if even a small pot dose is mixed with a small alcohol dose, so, "do not mix with alcohol, do not drive in violation of state law or while possibly impaired.....  You get the idea.

Lenny

< Mr. President, the answer is 'No.'
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