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It’s Time We Change the Rhetoric on Weed

The world is changing when it comes to weed. In America, medical marijuana is legal in 30 states, and recreational weed is legal in nine of those states. The most recent state to authorize medical marijuana was Oklahoma, with a 56-43 percent vote passing the law in June. In Canada, the recent Cannabis Act allows any citizen over the age of 18 to use, buy and grow their own weed. An individual can grow up to four plants and own 30 grams of marijuana at any given time.

The legalization of marijuana in Oklahoma was done rather suddenly, leaving the state little time to prepare for large numbers of license applications, doctor’s letters, weed businesses and the criminal aspects of marijuana, which still exist. By leaving out specific wording, which could be exploited by those looking for loopholes, the passing of the bill was made even more difficult.

However, as time goes on, state legislature has and will continue working to make legal marijuana in Oklahoma well-regulated.

Weed itself is a contestable subject. People tend to be divided into groups: those who believe weed is a gateway drug, capable of causing addiction and rotting the brain, and those who see weed as having medical benefits, which can be enjoyed safely with proper usage and education. The fear-mongering, which targets weed, has existed for decades and continues today. After all, since it is still federally illegal, it must be a bad thing.

This is simply not true. Even the D.A.R.E Program admits on their website “the research is still inconclusive regarding whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug,” although they have passed this along as a fact for decades.

Marijuana is currently listed as one of six Schedule I drugs in America. According to the DEA, Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Looking at the facts, weed has no place next to heroin and ecstasy.

There are thousands of people all over the world using marijuana for medical purposes, utilizing its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. These effects can be achieved without getting high: certain strains of weed have been bred to be high-CBD and low-THC, meaning the medical properties remain while the high is greatly reduced.

One only has to read a few accounts of marijuana helping patients have a better standard of living to understand there is a medical use for weed. As for the second part of the DEA’s definition of a Schedule I drug, it remains a clear fact no one has ever died because of a weed overdose. Someone can certainly smoke too much pot and it can make them sick, but it is not life-threatening.

I firmly believe the U.S. needs to follow in Canada’s footsteps when it comes to weed. When the prevailing opinion on weed becomes one of acceptance, science and education, we will be moving in the right direction.

Little research has been done on weed because of its illegality and availability. With it being legalized, we can finally study it without bias and truly learn how it helps people with seizures, chronic pain and a host of other ailments. Fear-mongering will get us nowhere but backwards. We should be moving forward, not receding.

Joe Dolce, journalist and author of “Brave New Weed,” sums it up nicely: “Let’s give this era to another viewpoint, and I want the viewpoint to be based on science. Let’s look at what we really know about this plant, what we know about the endocannabinoid system, what we know about the healing aspects and the high—let’s really explore that a little more.”

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