Marijuana decriminalization has its own share of unlikely backers
Gone are the days when marijuana was just plainly associated with vagrants, hippies, and criminals, especially now that the number of countries, states, and districts across the globe decriminalizing it is gradually expanding. Add to this the growing list of famous people who unashamedly proclaim their support for the weed. Certainly, the stigma on the medicinal plant remains existent, but to say that it isn’t progressively dissipating would be folly.
Undeniably, its many medical benefits are among the top reasons that the notion of marijuana, aka weed or cannabis, as a dangerous substance is no longer shared by the majority. As it was with alcohol during the Prohibition Era, there were many lies about alcohol that made it impossible to believe that it could be also used for medical purposes. Now, several studies have proven that cannabis could help suppress, if not totally cure, several diseases like epilepsy and cancer, the same reason why many decriminalization battles in several areas of the world end successfully.
Sportsmen have spoken. Just recently, a group consisting of former National Football League (NFL) players have expressed their support for the cause by partnering with Constance Therapeutics, a California-based marijuana extract makers, to conduct a clinical trial that aims to prove cannabis’ capacity to cure chronic pain and depression. It’s rather a gutsy move for the athletes as marijuana is still classified as an illegal substance in most sporting leagues, including the NFL.
The players are actually serious about their advocacy as they’ve formalized it by forming Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, an organization whose primary goal is to educate the people—athletes or not—about the benefits of medical cannabis. The move came amid the release of various reports on the growing number of athletes suffering from the illness years after retirement.
Even some men on the police force are in favor of its legalization. In 2014, a report that revealed several policemen in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington advocating for cannabis’ decriminalization surfaced on the Web. These law enforcers said that they could become more focused on other more serious drug-related crimes if the harmless plant became accessible to the public. The report also revealed how marijuana-related cases had significantly trimmed down in number even though the legalization battles in these areas were just about to emulate Colorado at the time.
In 2015, D.A.R.E., the organization that vows to educate all levels of school-goers about the negative and disastrous effects of illegal drugs, publicly announced its support for marijuana legalization. Through an Op-Ed, the group said that “legalizing and regulating marijuana will actually make everyone safer,” and that it’s virtually senseless to include weed to its list of dangerous drugs if its members are actually staunch believers of the benefits the society might gain should it become legal federally.
From here, changing the public’s negative notion of the plant has become stronger. Even startup companies extended their brand reach from mere marijuana producers to unashamed advocates. Med-X, a startup cannabis firm that strongly believes that all marijuana products and services must be built on research-based methodologies and systems, became known not only for its product but for its works on spreading awareness on the matter. Through The Marijuana Times, its publication arm, the company publishes news and stories on the weed. It also expressed through a press release that one of the main reasons it wants to obtain more funding through an equity crowdsourcing is to enhance its goal of educating more cannabis naysayers and antagonists across the country.
Lastly, while the republicans at the GOP Party are the least ones to openly support marijuana, recent happenings have shown us that times have definitely changed today. Texas senator Ted Cruz, for instance, despite his claim that he’s not in favor of it, is open to letting the states decide for themselves. The same goes with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is in favor of giving the states—or their people—the total liberty over deciding whether it’s good for them or not.
Even Florida senator Marco Rubio, whose blurry statement on being high remains a puzzling element of his entire political ideology, said that cannabis legalization is fine, so long as “that don’t have the elements that are mind-altering or create the high that do alleviate whatever condition it may be they are trying to alleviate.” Who could also forget about Senator Rand Paul’s game-changing statement that it will “allow patients, doctors, and businesses in states that have already passed medical marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of federal prosecution”?
America is still far from becoming a country bereft of marijuana prohibition, but it will be hard to deny the fact that the force behind it is growing stronger, especially because its backers are no longer confined to its usual allies. As cannabis’ future remains in the hands of the people, there can be no better move today than making the awareness of the cause more widespread and stronger, as unlikely alliances can surely make things topsy-turvy—for the better, of course.