Let's Talk About Cannabis

Hey friends, I wanted to talk about the importance of 4/20 today!

If you didn’t know, I am a medical marijuana patient and I think it’s important that we talk about cannabis legalization, how criminalization of cannabis disproportionately affects people of color, and what we can do to help.

What is cannabis and how is it used?

If you aren’t sure what cannabis is, how it’s used, and how it affects our bodies, I recommend that you look through this FAQ that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides. The push for the legalization of cannabis in all forms including both recreational and medical across the entirety of the United States is extremely important. Right now, medical marijuana is only legal in 36/50 states and recreational in only 15/50 states.

Why is legalizing medical cannabis important?

Concerning medical cannabis, it’s completely unacceptable for Americans to not have access to the same safe and effective treatments that other states have. It only serves to harm those who cannot move to a state where cannabis is legalized and those who don’t have access to medical authorization in the states that do allow medical cannabis. Medical cannabis has been shown to help a ton of different illnesses ranging from multiple sclerosis to PTSD and can help with side effects from treatments such as radiation in cancer patients. If you want to learn more about the conditions and the use of medical cannabis I suggest you check out this link here. I personally have had my life changed by replacing my anti-depressants and anxiety medication with medical cannabis and there are many more people like me that deserve to have that same experience.

Why is legalizing recreational cannabis important?

On top of the ableist lack of medical programs in every state, the criminalization of recreational cannabis is unnecessary and harmful. The ACLU reported that although we spend $3.6 billion annually on enforcing marijuana laws, we have yet to diminish the use or availability of marijuana (ACLU). There is no point in continuing to police a drug that very obviously should be accessible to the public and especially when legalization would be a net positive from a financial, medical, and humanitarian standpoint. Also, the war on cannabis has harmed more people of color than most realize. According to the ACLU, although cannabis use is equal among blacks and whites, black people are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana (ACLU). This is a major reason why legalization without expunging past convictions would disproportionately benefit white people. We are already seeing white people benefit from the cannabis industry in the places where it is legalized, with over 80% of cannabis business owners being white (Marijuana Business Daily). This isn’t right and it needs to be looked at when making cannabis reformation.

What can you do?

Legislation to legalize cannabis in all forms and to expunge past convictions exists today through the MORE ACT which is currently gaining traction in congress.

  • I highly encourage you to contact your local legislators and implore them to support this legislation. You can use this link here to help you find out how you can do this.

  • Offer support your friends that use cannabis. Help friends that are interested in enrolling in medical programs by finding out if they have a qualifying condition in their state, helping them find rides to appointments, or helping to find a medical professional in their area who can help them enroll in their state’s medical program.

  • Continue to learn and talk about what you are learning! For more information you can check out this post from Ben and Jerry’s (yes the ice cream company). This is a great resource which inspired me to speak up and I used many of the resources they listed to help me write this.

If you would like to learn more about my personal experiences with medical cannabis I would be happy to talk about it over on discord where you can dm me with questions.

Have a safe and happy 4/20 friends, and thank you for taking the time to learn!