The Right Reason to Legalize Marijuana
The Right Reason…
…to legalize marijuana is for medical purposes. As we have learned through much media coverage, marijuana today is less about reefer madness and more about the responsible use of the plant’s medicinal properties.
It has been this discovery that has led so many Republicans in the U.S., and politicians in many countries, who sit on the right side of the political divide to change their mind and consider legalization.
And in many cases, it has been a personal discovery that has caused the switch to support legalization.
A majority of Republicans are now in favour of marijuana legalization. A new Gallup poll released Wednesday the 25th of October, 2017 found that 51% of Republicans now support marijuana legalization. That’s up nine points from last year, and this is a sure indicator that the scales have tipped in favour of legalization.
This is quite a shift in the traditional right wing approach to the war on drugs and the ill-informed belief that marijuana is a ‘gateway drug’.
So let’s take a look at whom, where, and why right leaning people in power take a left turn at the MaryJane junction.
Republican Matt Gaetz is one of the foremost leaders working to reform the federal marijuana policies. He has often shown his support for legalization and recognizes that most young Republicans are in favor of medical marijuana research. In fact, he has stated “Many Millennials voted for the president because they believed he was a new type of Republican on the marijuana issue.”
At a recent speech, he very definitively stated that cannabis had anti-tumor properties: “Cannabis has shown promise in cancer research for over two decades. There is now conclusive research that shows that cannabis-related compounds have anti-tumor properties. Yet despite these findings, scientists are going too slow. It is time for cannabis research to begin and we should declassify it as a Schedule I drug.”
And even the current president has repeatedly pledged he would respect state marijuana laws, and has stated that he personally knows people who benefit from medical cannabis.
So what’s the hold up? It’s not certainly not coming from lifelong Republican, Ann Lee.
She was firmly opposed to the legalization of marijuana, believing it to be a dangerous “gateway” drug.
However, her stance changed after witnessing the healing power of pot. Her son was in a workplace accident that left him in a wheelchair as a paraplegic. He suffered severe nerve pain and was dealing with constant and excruciating pain. Unwilling to go down the opioid rabbit hole, his search for a less addictive pain relief led him to try cannabis. The relief it offered and the evidence that it did not lead him to become a drug addict was enough to convince Ann to question the legal status of marijuana.
She went on to found the Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), a nonprofit organization and political caucus within the GOP that support legalization of medical marijuana and works to change the current status.
Republican Jim Neely is also a licensed physician. He introduced a bill to allow terminally ill patients access to medical marijuana. His own personal experience in addition to that of many patients is behind Neely’s conviction to legalize cannabis. His daughter died of cancer in 2015, and his belief that cannabis would have provided relief from pain has been a driving force in his initiative towards legalization.
Meanwhile in Tennessee, Republican legislators, Jeremy Faison and Steve Dickerson introduced a measure to legalize therapeutic pot. The motivation may be partially healthcare and partially economic, since they believe the bill will bring an economic boon to the state. The bill will allow 50 grow houses to be built, with 15 of them designated for areas that are struggling financially.
However, Tennessee has a serious opioid epidemic where the number of opioid prescriptions is higher than the population. And since there is statistical evidence that opioid prescriptions have decreased in states where marijuana is legal, this may be yet another good reason for the political push to legalize pot.
Ryan Williams co-sponsored a move to legalize medical marijuana in 2015. He stated that legalization would be pushed forward in a bid to help address the opioid epidemic.
Jason Vaughn is a conservative and a Texan cannabis activist. He was inspired to write an essay in support of legalization when he realized how many Texans are jailed for possession each year.
David Simpson introduced a reform bill to end criminalization of marijuana. And he wrote and op-ed that supports cannabis based on his religious views that it is a plant created by God, as he stated, “ I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix.” The essay went viral, which is, in itself, a good indicator of the widespread interest in legalization.
Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul are also staunch supporters of state autonomy on marijuana laws. Rand Paul who is also a physician, thinks there should more research and that this is hard to do when it is classed as a Schedule 1 drug. In an interview with Rolling Stone he stated, “The bottom line is… it’s kind of crazy that OxyContin is Schedule II and marijuana is Schedule I. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Last in this list, but most definitely the first and foremost Republican to push for legalization’ must be Dana Rohrabacher. Since 2003, this congressman has be advocating for each state to have the right to legalize cannabis.
Dana Rohrabacher regularly uses a topical cannabis treatment for his arthritis, and it was his own personal discovery of the incredible efficacy of the plant that is began his drive to legalize medical marijuana.
In a bid to garner support for his amendment, he invited Republicans to tour a medical marijuana research facility with the hope of educating them about the medicinal benefits. However, it was one of his supporters who wrote a letter applauding his amendment that helped provide support.
The supporter had a son who returned from war suffering from multiple seizures each day. He was treated with a cocktail of opioids but nothing worked, until a doctor prescribed cannabis. The seizures almost entirely stopped.
It is these, and so, so many stories like these that are galvanizing the movement to legalize medical marijuana. The scientific and anecdotal proof is overwhelming; and a recent CBS News poll found that 90 percent of Americans support the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The reasons for Republicans to vote in the right direction of legalization are many, and they range from the economical and logical to the spiritual and emotional.
And with public support, from both the left and the right, that firmly leans towards legalization, isn’t it high time to legalize?
Share on Facebook Tweet about this