The Challenge for the New Generation of Legalizers

I was recently asked, following a lecture I had given, what the next generation of legalization advocates could do to move legalization forward, and to leave their mark on the legalization movement.

The question was intriguing, and caused me to revisit in my mind the areas of public policy in which marijuana smokers continue to be treated unfairly, even in states that have legalized marijuana, and to consider why these problems remain so difficult for us to correct.

I have discussed in previous columns the continuing problems we face as smokers dealing with employment discrimination, child custody and related issues, and charges of driving under the influence of marijuana. Simply put, marijuana smokers continue to be treated as people who, because of their marijuana smoking, can be fired from their job without the slightest indication they have ever gone to work in an impaired condition; continue to be presumed by the state child welfare agencies to be unfit parents, without any evidence to suggest that conclusion; and continue to face DUID charges without any showing of driving while impaired.

Most Americans are decent, fair-minded people who would generally want to treat their fellow citizens in a fair manner, just as they would want to be treated. But because of the impact of decades of “reefer madness” propaganda and widespread misinformation about marijuana and marijuana smokers, once the factor of marijuana smoking enters the equation, these same Americans are largely willing to allow – or even encourage – policies that needlessly and unfairly harm the families, careers and lives of people who are good, hard-working individuals who happen to enjoy marijuana smoking when they relax in the evening, just as tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans enjoy a beer or a glass of wine when they relax in the evening.

Two out of Three Americans Have an Unfavorable Impression of Marijuana Smokers

This is true despite the fact that a majority of the American public now support full legalization. They have concluded that prohibition is a failed public policy that causes far more harm than the use of marijuana itself; but they are certainly not pro-marijuana. This is an important distinction. These citizens were dubbed the “marijuana middle” by the Third Way, a Washington, DC think tank that recently released polling data showing, somewhat shockingly, that while a majority of the country now favor full legalization, 64 percent of those same people have a negative impression of recreational marijuana smokers!

They believe that those of us who smoke marijuana are doing something wrong, and harmful, regardless of the legal status of marijuana. Thus in every policy area that arises, including especially employment, child custody and driving, they continue to presume the worst-case scenario, and, in their minds, to “err on the side of caution” to protect the non-smoking public from the perceived dangers of marijuana smoking and marijuana smokers.

This is largely the result of the “stupid stoner” stereotypes that too many Americans continue to embrace for recreational users. While many of us who smoke have learned to laugh at those stereotypes when they appear in the popular culture, apparently too many of our fellow citizens fail to see the humor, and take them seriously. They see us as slackers who fail to live-up to our potential, and whose primary interest in life is getting stoned. And until we correct this misimpression, it will be impossible to put in place policies that treat responsible marijuana smokers fairly.

And that brings me back to the question I was asked regarding what the new generation of legalization advocates could do to leave their mark on the legalization movement. My answer is that the latest generation of advocates must come out of the closet in far greater numbers – to stand-up tall and proudly announce that you are a responsible marijuana smoker, as well as a good, productive citizen.

It is only by demonstrating that marijuana smokers are hard-working, middle class individuals who raise families, pay taxes and contribute in a positive manner to our communities, that we can finally overcome those negative stereotypes that persist. And until we overcome those stereotypes, we cannot achieve full equality with our fellow citizens. We will continue to be treated unfairly both legally and culturally.

In earlier decades, it took real courage to acknowledge your use of marijuana, as one might find yourself shunted by friends or colleagues, or even worse, targeted by law enforcement. And even today, the Third Way polling results clearly demonstrate there remains a stigma to marijuana smoking, and we must overcome that stigma if we are to avoid these unfair policies, even after legalization.

It is the younger generation of smokers who must face this final challenge. We have, after decades of effort, begun the long process of redefining the responsible use of marijuana as a legal activity. Over the next several years, we should succeed in ending the practice of arresting marijuana smokers all throughout the country.

But we will continue to be treated unfairly until we overcome this persistent cultural bias. So long as 65% of the public have an unfavorable view of those of us who smoke, we simply cannot achieve full equality. To do that we must convince the majority of the non-smokers that marijuana smokers are just average Americans – good people –who just happen to enjoy smoking marijuana. We need to move the “marijuana middle” to a place where they are emotionally more comfortable with those of us who smoke. This is a necessary cultural shift.

That is the challenge for our younger colleagues in the legalization movement.

23 thoughts

  1. It seems like one challenge might be to get government out of the business of regulating and taxing what people do with their own bodies. Who gave them that authority to own anybody should ALWAYS be the primary question being asked.

  2. Where is there discrimination law that allows people to fire based on anything but actual performance metrics? Currently, they just assume that you are reduced in performance without evidence.

  3. Excellent article. I came out last year with my family and a childhood friend I was trying to reconnect with. It was fine with the family but not the old friend. At my age I rather have honesty anyday.

  4. As a person who would be defined as a non-smoker, I wholeheartedly agree. The only reason alot of us working class non-smokers do not smoke on weekends and whatnot is because of policies that allow our jobs to randomly collect samples from us to be used against us if anything shows up. These policies will not change with any amount of legalization. Everything boils down to research and public opinion. With better public opinion comes more research. I am glad for the states that have legalized, but in truth all it benifits are the people who would have smoked regardless of legality. Peraonally I refuse to support any “stoner” films or references to pop culture, because all it does it hurt the image of what Marijuana really is and what the prolegalization politics and Lawyers are fighting for.

  5. Im A native american living on the ft peck indian reservation and my tribe is supposed to go green on June 1st 2015 and there are not to many activists i know who care as much as i do im trying to start up my own chapter and business but what could i do or who could i talk to or meet that would help me take action?

  6. “the latest generation of advocates must come out of the closet in far greater numbers – to stand-up tall and proudly announce that you are a responsible marijuana smoker, as well as a good, productive citizen”

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do so without fear of severe consequences! I’ve known a great many cannabis consumers in my life and not a single one of them is willing to come out of the closet. They fear joining NORML or any other organization that is attempting to end prohibition because of possible repercussions. But, every single one of them would vote to legalize if they had the opportunity!

  7. Removing the stigma of cannabis use will be a major challenge after the brainwashing of Americans for so many years.Its fortunate information is just a click away to point out the men with long noses that continue this misinformation campaign.This may be the next gold mine for the psychobabble industry. The unlearning of prohibition phobias.

  8. @Keith, in this article I hurriedly counted 25 uses of “smoke”, “smoker(s)”, “smoking” etc. Yet in the same article you emphasize that there is a stigma… don’t you think that majority out there is really at least as afraid of the carbon monoxide (and its “stoned” behavior impact blamed on the herb) as of the cannabis? Give this a try: promote Vaporization and see if that doesn’t help move attitudes in a more favorable direction!

  9. I keep reading about how Colorado is using some of its cannabis revenues to fund public education, such as $15 million quoted in this article from

    Pennsylvania is one of the swing states you mentioned in your article, but it has a larger population than Colorado. The state really needs a couple of billion dollars in the next few years to dig its way out of the dearth of funding for public education and the state employee pension system, which it plans on getting from an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale. How much money could the swing states like Pennsylvania expect to rake in from legal cannabis revenues for public education?

    Also, the Philadelphia mayoral primary is just 6 weeks away, and Jim Kenney, the guy who is known for getting the city to decriminalize cannabis, is supposedly one of the frontrunners. Can you help get him elected? He looks most likely to legalize cannabis.

    It’d be nice if deBlasio would just up and legalize cannabis in The Big Apple. Heard that Hillary Clinton was hanging out with Bill deBlasio’s wife, so I’m hoping they partook of the sacred herb, and are inclined to let legalization happen. President I Legalized Weed Hillary Clinton? Obama implemented HillaryCare what she initiated, so she can implement cannabis legalization that Barry started to let happen–after laughing it off at first. Inhale deeply, Barry, and enjoy!

  10. “Marihuana” should never be legalized, but there is a two-step way that marijuana smokers, non-smokers, and parents could voice this year to legalize marijuana.

    Reform the definition of “marihuana” so that it actually shows respect for our Constitution by explicitly making it a single thing which is distinct from cannabis:

    The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

    When cannabis is de-scheduled per the reformed definition, put marijuana in Schedule 3 to legalize it, so that it can be restricted like other types of smoke per the anti-smoking laws.

    Good laws, good health, and good times. What’s not to like?

  11. @Kadyn,
    Most of what you can do is linked and available on this web page. There is a NORML chapter in Missoula. If you’re going to go that far, I suggest you speak with the Coeur-d’alene Indians and see how they are dealing with Montana’s conditional marijuana laws across state borders into Washington State. There is a link on this page for “state info” that can help you make sense of Montana marijuana law. As state law pertains to reservations, I also suggest you look at your other neighbor, Canada, for temporary banking investment. There’s money in Seattle too if you’re looking for business investment. You need to start thinking of brands if you want to go commercial. If you want to help local tribal funds while keeping culture, Grow hemp to make traditional blankets and other products that are easy to ship. But get permission from your tribal elders first. Dont want to upset the old folks. Good luck!

  12. Fair and equal treatment by leadership and power brokers is an unattainable goal like “just say no to drugs” is. Living a long life as a cannabis consumer has required an under the radar existence. With legalization, the social and creative residue of consumption shall flourish as closet cannabis activists flood the cafe discussions.

  13. I didn’t know tobacco smoke was in a Schedule. Looks like WHO is a player in regulation of where people are allowed to smoke tobacco. WHO needs to get out of the cannabis prohibition business. I’m sick of them. I’m not listening to them when it comes to cannabis prohibition. It’s causing needless suffering keeping it prohibited. And WHO needs to stop acting like a mother hen for the alcohol industry. They’ll still be around for the prohibitionists after legalization. For people who consume alcohol and are saying alcohol is legal and we don’t need another mind-altering substance I ask what planet are you living on? Cannabis is already ubiquitous. People have medical conditions that cannabis helps. People choose to use cannabis in PLACE of alcohol to relax recreationally, and since alcohol is more harmful get out of the way and legalize.

  14. This could not be more true! This is just a backlash from the 40+ year legalization/decriminalization movement. Humans hate being proved wrong and science is doing just that. Even though racism is the most talked about form of discrimination and it should be, there are many, many other forms. This is also how ‘animals’ behave in nature by simple classification, and a lack of deeper understanding. I work in academia with what are supposed to be educated people, but are they really? This is the same as any type of ‘bullying’, a buzzword which is so in fashion now, but only for some, not all, especially the heads.

  15. Legalisation is an important step towards accepting cannabis and it’s users into society but there is much more work to be done.
    The civil rights movement managed to get racial segregation outlawed but racism and racial prejudice still existed and it has taken many years to strip this away. I fear it will be the same for cannabis but let’s hope the process is a little quicker.

  16. Here in Louisiana they are putting people decent people away for years for cannabis.
    A person can stay out all night drinking and show up for work not worth a crap, but they will test you for cannabis and fire on the spot. We all know if you smoke one jay on a weekend they can detect it for up to 30 days . they even do hair test that goes back 90 to 120 days. Is that not crazy ??? LEGALIZE NOW !!!

  17. @ ron

    I realize I’m preaching to the choir here because we all know that cannabis prohibition is the new Jim Crow. The fact that law enforcement uses traffic stops and profiling to make marijuana arrests has been going on for a long time. This latest tragedy of Walter Scott in North Charleston is still one more example of the thin blue line of corrupt cops sticking up for each other in the news recently, and if it weren’t for video footage the public would take the authority figure’s word for it. Minorities have been complaining about this kind of Jim Crow policing and excessive force and cops lying for decades now, and the prohibitionists and the FoxNews types, mostly white folks, discount such claims as like there they go crying wolf again, playing the race card again. Maybe the cop, Slager, knew from the Walter Scott’s license plate that the driver was wanted for back child support, and with a passenger in the car maybe he could bust them for some of that, too. I read in the local paper weekly in their police log section under the category of drugs of people charged with marijuana crimes resulting from a traffic stop. They don’t report if there was evidence of the persons smoking while driving, driving under the influence or the people in the vehicles just being coerced into consenting to searches upon which the cops find they’ve got weed and/or paraphernalia. Sometimes I wonder if by the Spanish names the police are targeting minorities, can’t tell by the non-Spanish names if the people are minorities as there are no pictures.

    Barry Cooper, ex-Texas law enforcement officer, had put out some dvds, and he’d run into some trouble with prohibitionists targeting him and his family, I think they took his kids away from him, too. I hope he won, and got everything straightened out, escaped to freedom on Colorado or some place.

    Makes me wonder if it would be productive for LEAP to work with minority communities or to pick up where Barry Cooper left off. I am just so tired of cops using traffic stops and marijuana prohibition as an excuse to give us free for all beatdowns and plant drugs where there arent’ any, detain people till other cops with drug sniffing dogs get there when you don’t consent to a search because of a simple traffic stop. There ought to be a law that if you don’t consent to a search at a traffic stop that they have to let you go after 5 minutes or something and can’t detain you any longer.

  18. My comment is in response to problems with using marijuana medically, while employers, albeit oxymoronically, can still terminate a person’s employment for legally and responsibly medicating OUTSIDE of the workplace and OUTSIDE of working hours; this as a result of using antiquated intoxication detection techniques and also as a result of antiquated Federal US guidelines determining Marijuana scheduling, possesion penalties, use, and intoxication. I am a LEGAL Medical Marijuana patient with a recommendation from a certified doctor in my state. We, the people of this state, have legalized this law via POPULAR VOTE and subsequently its litigation. I have been diagnosed with Meneire’s Disease, Osteo Arthritis, and IBS, all of whose symptoms can be tolerated (if not completely alleviated) with a SINGLE dose of Cannabis each evening- one half an MJ cigarette per evening does the trick for me, and the theraputic results can last through the entire next day, while I am certainly not intoxicated or even impaired by the time I awaken. I have been using cannabis since 1977 almost daily, save for a six year enlistment in the US Air Force, where random testing was done and I was forced to abstain. I enlisted in the military for the same reason my father did (who was, ironically, a Special Narcotics Agent for the California Department of Justice): for the love of my country and the notion that I could help maintain FREEDOM in it. I have been a LEGAL, card-carrying Medical Marijuana patient in the state of Michigan since its inception here without a worry and nearly symptom free of all of my conditions for several years now. In 2015, after 27 years of continuous employment with a spotless employee AND attendance record, my employer has been taken over by a very large national corporation in which random drug testing is mandatory on a bi-yearly basis. Employees cannot be certain exactly when such testing will be accomplished; consequently we must all abstain or risk our future employment. This affects MANY people who work there. Several employees with very specific skill sets have since been fired or forced to quit, this to the detriment of the company, while NONE have EVER been accused of being intoxicated on the job. After 27 years at my job, I am only 53 and will not be able to retire for another 14 years. I have been forced to quit Cannabis use or risk my family’s health benefits, my pension, and future security. All medications I have taken in the past for my diagnoses have resulted in suffering from more (and worse) side effects than the original problems; i.e., 16 kidney stones over a period of a few years when I decided to stop using MJ and go with prescription meds, continued nausea and digestive discomfort (to include daily diarrhea several times per day), and further deterioration of my skeletal system and the connective tissue in my hips. I now use NO medications at all. All symptoms from my conditions have returned after 3 months of abstinence, and now I just have to deal with them while working 55-60 hours per week at a job consisting of 10 hours per day of manual labor in a factory.
    I cannot argue the fact that an employer needs to maintain job safety. I am well aware that their respective insurance liability providers may put extra pressure on them to test for workplace intoxication. Remember, I said INTOXICATION. But here are the facts: the corporate detection of marijuana in one’s system relies on detecting marijuana METABOLITES, which can be present a month or even two after its last use- NOT actual marijuana intoxication. Let me re-emphasize that- marijuana METABOLITES clearly do not justify a basis for intoxication. Let me ask ANYONE this: have you EVER still been high a month after smoking a joint??? A week??? This is what these tests imply. Conversely, in a common employer urinalysis, the cutoff for intoxication based on THC metabolites is only 50 nanograms. For heroin and other opioids such as Vicodin, Dilaudid, etc. (without the necessity of providing a prescription), the cutoff is 5,000 nanograms, for cocaine 300 nanograms, and for methamphetamines, 150 nanograms. And let’s remember that the metabolites of the other aforementioned NARCOTICS are generally not even detected in urine after 48 hours, as they are not bound to fat cells in the body as THC Metabolites are. And in most experts and physician’s eyes, these other drugs are much more dangerous to on-the-job performance and are more habit-forming than marijuana. Now, with these facts in mind, is there ANYONE in the scientific community who has (or can) develop an accurate test for Marijuana INTOXICATION??? Can we put something like this to good use IMMEDIATELY???
    I will tell you this; along with an employee urinalysis for drug detection, all employees at my company are also subjected to a breathalyzer test for alcohol. I know for a FACT that there are SEVERAL alcoholics at my place of employment who were quite intoxicated the night before (or even the morning OF) the test, and still passed the company’s intoxication criteria. Some of them even operate forklifts and other heavy equipment. Certainly, a qualified scientist with his heart in the right place can be found to assist people in my predicament, right?
    Also be advised, employers, that most people who use medical Marijuana are not completely impaired and useless to society; rather we are reliable, well educated, industrious, motivated people who choose to treat their aliments in the gentle way WE have chosen, NOT the way the US Government currently says we HAVE to. We are your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, peers and co-workers. Some of us may have even saved your life at some point, even though you do not agree with our life choices. We are HERE. We are NOT going away. Our numbers WILL increase. We WILL get stronger. GET USED TO IT AND CHANGE OUR ANTIQUATED LAWS NOW!!!!! EVERYONE needs to help- PLEASE!!! Lives are at stake.

  19. Dear congress

    My name is Roxann Allen. I am woman, daughter, sister, niece & wife. Out of all these things that I have named of myself 3 of them have been inflected with a disease. And if it were not for the use of medical marijuana I could of lost one or all three of these people that I love. I am an advocate for the use of medical marijuana & the decriminalization of this plant that grows naturally on our earth. The first of these family members who have greatly benefited from the use of medical marijuana happens to be a War Hero / Veteran that suffers from sever PTSD. I have had to talk this person down from jumping off a ledge & running there car off the road. Once this person decided to try medical marijuana the effects of there PTSD became easier to handle. It also became easier for them to coup with there surrounding. Here is a War Hero that could of become a static without the help of medical marijuana. There are too many War Heros that are not getting enough help. But if they used medical marijuana they could see a better life. These War Heroes need our help. And the benefits of medical marijuana could save our War Heroes from being a statistic. The next person I love was my 35 year old husband that was inflected with cancer. He was not an advocate for the use of medical marijuana. But when he was going though chemo every week and lost over 100 pounds due to the invasive drugs that they use to kill his cancer. And the twice daily wound care that he had to endure. I encouraged him to try the medical marijuana because he was wasting away before my eyes and our children’s too. When he finally agreed to try the medical marijuana. Within the hour he told me that he was hungry. It had been nearly 3 months since I had seen him eat an solid food. After this he became an advocate for the use of medical marijuana for all cancer patients. The last person who needs the use of medical marijuana is myself. Through no fault of my own. I was in a car accident that almost left me paralyzed. Even though I was wearing my seatbelt I crushed a few of my vertebra. This concluded in me having surgery that fused my spine and had Herrington rods place on either side of spine to stabilize me. What means from the middle of my back to my tail bone there are titanium rods holding my spine together. I have tried many different medicine prescribed by doctors. But nothing can compare to the use of medical marijuana. Each of the prescribed drugs made me feel like an addict. But with my use of medical marijuana I did not feel that way. With the use of medical marijuana it was easier for me to walk, bend over like I have not been able to do since this accident. Now I know that the number of people who conceive that medical marijuana is a gate way drug. I’m hear to tell that it is not a gate way drug. They do not know how people feel that have diseases. Let them see a War Hero with PTSD. A young dad trying to fight cancer to see his sons grow up. Or feel what chronic pain in your back and neck feels like. Medical marijuana should be decriminalized to help these people and all others that find that medical marijuana helps them. There would be many benefits to the government to help our country get out of debt. It would also help with the over population of prisons. Free up cops to investigate other crimes. And lessen the burden on tax payers who pay for the judges and juries who need to also be paid. We’re here today because the use of medical marijuana could not only helps suffers but could also help the government with the tax revenue that it would bring in. Now you congress please tell me. Would you deny a War Hero who fought to keep our country free the use of medical marijuana. Or would you rather see him as another dead statistic due to a war you sent them too. Or tell a dad to just waste away in front of his children because the chemo has made him to sick to eat. Medical marijuana could help many people who didn’t have hope before begin to see that there is lots of hope with the use of medical marijuana. Decriminalization of the use of medical marijuana could help thousands peoples. In closing I would just like you to think of what you would do if you saw your wife husband brother sister uncle aunt or any other family member wasting away. And maybe in those last few days the medical marijuana could have given them a few last days of happiness. What Would you want for them. What wouldn’t you do for them. I would want to enjoy every minute I had with them. As they would want to enjoy it minute they had left with me or you. Decriminalization of medical marijuana would not only help the people using it but also the workers, buildings , lights and Tax Revenue it would generate could bring our great country back to greatness.

  20. Here lay the way?… to de-schedule/end cannabis prohibition?

    Justice Sutherland of the Supreme Court of United States adopted these words in Funk v. United States:

    “… cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex … This means that no law can survive the reasons on which it is founded. It needs no statute to change it; it abrogates itself. If the reasons on which a law rests are overborne by opposing reasons, which in the progress of society gain a controlling force, the old law, though still good as an abstract principle, and good in its application to some circumstances, must cease to apply as a controlling principle to the new circumstances.”

  21. The article below ends (the non-existent) medical marijuana in Illinois?

    Illinois could fuck up a wet dream?

    This is what happens when States are purchased by .01%ers?…?

    Governor Rauner opposes extending medical pot program

    Posted: 04/12/2015, 01:18pm | Becky Schlikerman

    Gov. Bruce Rauner is not ready to extend the medical marijuana. | Getty Images

    A proposal to extend the temporary medical marijuana program doesn’t have Gov. Bruce Rauner’s support.

    “The governor believes there is a lot of time left to evaluate a pilot program, and we should not extend the program until it has been fully evaluated,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in an email.

    Rep. Lou Lang, the Skokie Democrat who championed the medical marijuana law and is now working to keep the temporary and delayed program in place for more time, said he was asked by officials in Rauner’s administration to hold off on filing a bill seeking more time for the program.

    But the bill was filed and it’s making progress, clearing committee and now scheduled to be heard by the House. All of the Republicans on the committee voted against the bill last month, with one not voting.

    “I’m not here to do the bidding of the governor’s office,” Lang said.

    “If [Rauner] is opposed to this bill, he’s opposed to this bill to the detriment of very sick Illinoisans.”

    The pilot program has been in effect for nearly a year and a half, but no marijuana has been sold to patients. Permits to grow marijuana were handed out last month.

    Lang’s bill seeks to extend the program four years from when the first dispensary begins officially operating. It’s now set to expire at the end of 2017.

    It would give the program a chance to begin functioning and allow patients who suffer from conditions such as cancer and multiple sclerosis to have access to the sought-after drug, Lang said.

    The extension will also prevent legal marijuana prices from “skyrocketing,” Lang said.

    Marijuana entrepreneurs have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to win permits to grow and sell medical marijuana and now some are spending millions to build their facilities.

    “Opposition to this is a serious blow to patients, sick people, caregivers,” Lang said. “The purpose of this program was to help very sick people improve their quality of life.”

    The bill also seeks to extend the use of patient cards issued before dispensaries are operating.

    Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, has asked what the cost of the extension would be.

    The Illinois Department of Public Health said it’s “impossible to estimate the total value of potential lost revenue” because dispensaries are not yet operating and it’s not yet known when they will be. But if dispensaries began operating next month with the approximately 2,000 patients that are currently approved to use medical marijuana, the department estimates it would cost about $200,000. But the state will lose more money the longer the delay and the more patients that sign up, the department said in the fiscal note accompanying the legislation.

  22. I really enjoyed this article, and reading the comments that followed. My question is this: what about those of us that aren’t middle class? Unfortunately, I live on SSI now. In November of 200 I was in a debilitating car accident, and between then and March of 2003 I was in two more. I have some very serious medical issues, but none that are terminal. The first time I smoked marijuana I was 15. That was 33 years ago! I don’t know if it was because I had never used before or if it really was purer back then, but WOW, did it seem powerful. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine, just so I could know for sure, lol. What we used to get was mostly what is now referred to as shake. And no one had pipes or bongs, you just smoked a joint. I like pipes myself. But I used the paper from tampon tubes when I was young, pages from books, any thin paper would do. After my accident I had to have an Ilizarov frame placed on my right leg & ankle. I was given Percocet 10s to deal with the pain. I’ve had Perc 5’s also, as well as Lortabs when they were made, and Norcos. I’ve bought prescription drugs off the street, Perc 5s & 10s, Lortabs & Norcos, Methadone, Xanax, Suboxone, as well as some illegal ones, including heroin. No I’m not addicted, I’ve only used THAT one about a dozen times, never with a needle (I don’t believe in that) and the last time was over 8 months ago. I realize that just me saying this doesn’t make it right. I am, however, an honest person.
    For a number of years, I didn’t use marijuana at all. I was in a pain clinic and I got tested every month so I couldn’t. The problem with narcotics, for me, is the messed me up internally. I never had IBS until I went on opiates. And it doesn’t matter if I’m taking them or I’m out. I don’t have irritable bowel syndrome. I have f*cking p*ssed off bowels!! They’re so mad at all the stuff that’s pumped into my system that even medication can’t control it. So, I went to the streets again. This time, I started smoking again. Guess what? My IBS is nearly gone, and I don’t take the medicine the doctor gave me anymore. It’s acting up right now because I’m out of smoke. I can’t get more until May because I live on a fixed income. This is one of the problems I have with this article. I’m not middle class. I don’t even reach poverty level. The money I get each year is less than $10,000. I don’t get food stamps. The only government assistance I receive is Medicaid. I do believe that marijuana should be legalized, for medical purposes. I KNOW it can help. BUT, even if it were to be legalized on a Federal level, will the government allow Medicaid to pay for it? I really don’t see that happening. Also, if the Feds were to step in & deregulate it, they could tax the sh*t out of it, just like they do regular tobacco now. Think of how they could use that money: schools, roads, prisons to put REAL criminals in. I know that many won’t agree with this point of view, but at least if it’s legal and they’re taxing our usage, we’re not going to jail for doing something that we’re going to do whether they tell us we can legally or not, right?
    I would really like to be able to go to a dispensary, or go to a doctor then a dispensary, and get what I REALLY need, instead of going to a ‘dealer’. I’d like to walk into a clean, bright, well-lit place, tell them what’s wrong with me, what my symptoms are, ask advice, and have someone recommend the best strains for ME. I’m really tired of making a call, having someone tell me “Oh yeah, you can get a half of medical for $170, a half of stuff that’s ALMOST medical for $130, or a half of mids for $60.” !) How do I know that it’s really medical? 2) Where did it come from, what state? I KNOW better than to ask how it got here! #) If it IS medical, what KIND is it? Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis? How will it affect me?! I don’t WANT to go around the law!

    Finally, my mom has small cell lung cancer. This is one of the most devastating cancers anyone can have. There is no cure, and even if she goes into remission, she will be dead within the next 5 years. She was um, fortunate (?) because she got the last slot in an experimental chemo treatment program at one of our hospitals. She was diagnosed less than 3 months ago. After less than 4 treatments she lost all the hair on her head. She still has her eyebrows & eyelashes. She has to get blood transfusion every week, sometimes multiple times each week. There has been research conducted with cannabis that shows it can help cure some types of SMALL CELL cancers. My mom just had her first great grand child in November of 2014 and her second is due in August of this year. I would really like to help my mother.
    I don’t use to get high anymore, like I did when I was 15. Now I use for pain relief. I haven’t use a narcotic in a month. I don’t miss them. I know that if I educate myself properly, I can treat myself with medical marijuana.

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