by Renata Rollins
February 10, 2012
It's time to stop all the fuss
and just legalize it
Readers of the January 29 Sunday Olympian woke up to two front-page
headlines, five full-color photos and 85 column inches about the
legal woes of local medical cannabis providers.
The story had all the makings of great
political drama: ambiguous laws, ambivalent lawmakers, undercover
cops, lawyers of all stripes.
And yet, I’m in the chorus of millions asking: What’s the fuss? Any
other business accused of a code violation, whether undercooking
food or selling alcohol to a minor, could expect a visit from a
clipboard-wielding state worker.
But change one detail and it’s
armed federal agents, state troopers and the local narcotics task
force at the door - usually not knocking politely.
As similar scenes unfold across the nation, more communities bear
witness to the waste and dishonor of cannabis prohibition. Not only
does it harm already ailing patients, it makes criminals out of
people who choose a safer alternative to alcohol, the world’s most
In 2012, the federal government looks pretty lonely insisting
cannabis has “no medical use.”
Traditional medicine practitioners
percent of the American public,
...acknowledge its therapeutic benefits.
For thousands of years, herbal cannabis has relieved pain and
inflammation, prevented nausea, treated menstrual discomfort and
improved sleep. Repeated studies show cannabis helps,
The medical marijuana movement deserves credit for raising awareness
about an herb that was legally sold in the United States until 1937.
Still, the prescription model is overly
restrictive. Imagine if you needed an established history of
headaches in order to buy ibuprofen. Or if you needed a doctor’s
note to get sleeping pills. Or if you had to join a co-op in order
to access cough syrup for your kids.
All of these products, incidentally, result in fatal overdoses every
year (herbal cannabis has never killed anyone because it has no
And yet we don’t think twice about seeing rows of meds
in every grocery store and gas station. Let’s reserve prescriptions
for truly dangerous drugs like Oxycontin and morphine, slap on a
label stating cannabis “may cause drowsiness,” and stop spending tax
dollars eradicating a natural remedy.
Again, in 2012, the question isn’t whether cannabis should be legal,
but rather, why not? Herbal cannabis is safer than alcohol,
healthier than fast food, and less addictive than your daily cup of
Next to America’s drug of choice, there’s no comparison:
poisons the liver. Cannabis is nontoxic
Alcohol damages the brain.
Cannabis is neuroprotective
Alcohol increases violent behavior.
Cannabis does the opposite
Alcohol makes dangerous drivers.
Cannabis has less effect on driver safety than fatigue
(studies are cited at
The propaganda campaign against cannabis has run its course, thanks
to advocacy groups like NORML, and free information on the Internet.
As of last fall, a record 50 percent of Americans favor
legalization, up from just 12 percent in 1969. The game is up.
The T-shirt from The Healing Center co-op in Olympia reads:
don’t like medical marijuana, you won’t like the future.”
medical or otherwise, really, what’s so bad about that future? Less
violence, less disease, you’ll have the choice to use a safer
substance without fearing incarceration.
And hopefully, you can read about something more pressing in the