FORWARD THINKING: End prohibition: Make cannabis legal – Sunbury Daily Item
In the midst of a serious drug epidemic, the Trump administration announced its intentions to crack down on a substance that many turn to for healing and relief. As we watch so many of our loved ones struggle with addiction to opioids and other deadly drugs, why is the Department of Justice waging war on marijuana?
The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug (comparable to cocaine and heroin). This classification seems inaccurate. Schedule 1 drugs have no medicinal value, according to the government. Yet, there is scientific research demonstrating that medical cannabis can be used to treat a wide assortment of conditions, including PTSD, glaucoma, epileptic seizures, and certain cancers. Marijuana is also less addictive and dangerous than cocaine or heroin (or legal substances such as tobacco and alcohol).
Today, eight states have fully legalized marijuana while 28 others, including Pennsylvania, allow its use for medical treatments.
Federal regulations hinder states’ ability to legalize medical or recreational marijuana. The Obama administration attempted to alleviate this tension by directing federal law enforcement agencies not to interfere with state laws.
Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, now threatens to make state law his business and, in doing so, could cause serious unintended consequences. For example, federal law prohibits anyone using illegal substances, including marijuana, from owning a firearm. Recently, the Pennsylvania State Police informed anyone legally obtaining a medical marijuana card that they would have to turn in their firearms. Should responsible gun owners be forced to give up their firearms to seek legal medical treatment?
Perhaps the better question is: Why is Sessions focusing on marijuana when, in the United States, 175 people die everyday from overdose of dangerous drugs? Overdose deaths have increased so dramatically that the U.S. life expectancy, which was trending upward, has