Step by step is seems that the marijuana floodgates are opening, particularly in terms of medical marijuana. States within the US and countries worldwide seem to be becoming more amenable to the idea of legalized marijuana. With Canada set to become the first large scale industrial nation to legalize recreational marijuana next year, more countries are bound to follow. The current situation in the USA is that 8 states have legalized recreational marijuana – Oregon, Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts, Alaska, Colorado, Washington and California. 29 states have legalized medical marijuana. The distinction between medical and recreational marijuana is that for medical marijuana you need to have a certain illness in order to qualify for a card to obtain marijuana from a dispensary. For recreational marijuana, you can grow your own plants in your house, and you can smoke in the comfort of your own home without a medical marijuana card. The only stipulation is that are over 21 years of age.
Despite state legalization it is important to be aware that marijuana is still an illegal drug at the Federal level. This creates a sticky legal situation as you can be prosecuted for smoking a strain that is legal in your state. It also means that you can’t send marijuana across state borders, even in cases where marijuana is legal in two adjacent states. This is a violation of Federal law and could result in possible jail time.
Medical Marijuana in Tennessee
Medical marijuana is currently illegal in Tennessee. But a special task force has been set up to investigate the implications of marijuana legalization. The task force has been set up by Two Republicans, Beth Harwell and Lt. Governor Randy McNally.
It seems that year after year policy makers appear a little more open to the idea of marijuana. Republican Bill Ketron is against the recreational use of marijuana. He was also traditionally against medical use, but changed his mind after recently battling cancer, beating it with the help of radiation and a stem cell transplant. The side effects of the drugs and the radiation left him nausea and not wanting to eat. From one angle, it seems to be a shame that politicians do not seem to represent and enforce the ideals and views of the people, it is only when they experience something personally that they want to make a change. Ketron has always been stoutly anti-marijuana. Past Tennessee Republican Jeremy Faison who will co-chair chair the upcoming medical cannabis task force has gone from open minded, to full-fledged support. The key for him was a call from his pastor.
“He said my nephew has this rare disease and we are trying to get to Colorado because nothing else will work”
Again, it seems that politicians represent their own views and ideals instead of the populace they were elected to represent. Hundreds of thousands of people have been suffering from cancer for decades and do not have access to a plant that could relieve their pain. But Tennessee is not there yet, and has always been a traditional and conservative state. They won’t pass a bill legalization medical marijuana simply because other states have done so. This makes sense, and the task force will look into the advantages and disadvantages of marijuana use.
An Insight into Medical Marijuana Legalization
All the data supports the premise that medical marijuana legalization is a boon for states where it resides. It results in decreased road traffic accidents and fatalities, a boost in the economy, a decrease in crime, less dependency on harmful substances, almost eliminates opiate addiction and reduces the black-market marijuana economy and associated crime. Of course, there are some legislative hurdles to break through, procedures to be put in place and work to be done, but overall recreational and medical marijuana are effective solutions to medical, social and economic issues. The big problem is that some states are moving too fast without putting frameworks into place. This results in illegal growth operations which destroys the environment and generates low-quality marijuana, as well as a huge oversupply in some places.
Striking the Balance
A balance needs to be struck between legalization and regulation that is not overly invasive on cultivators and distributors. Tennessee is actually taking a sensible approach and will most likely implement medical marijuana slowly, carefully and thoughtfully. In the words of Lt. Governor Randy McNally, the purpose of the task force is to separate facts from fiction and not rely on hearsay and anecdotal evidence. At present, McNally says he needs convincing that medical marijuana is a good thing, but if convincing is what he needs then there is an ocean of strong data to support its introduction. Numerous studies have outlined the benefits of marijuana on diseases such as glaucoma, cancer, schizophrenia, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, bi-polar, PTSD, Parkinson’s, migraines and much more. There can be little doubt that THC is a fantastic compound for a variety of medical conditions and it can’t be refused on the grounds that it is not effective.