Let me preface this article with this. On the Nebraska Flag it says “Equality Before the Law” By definition it means: It’s central to our country’s values and the rule of law. Historically, some of the worst violations of equal protection involve classifications by race or sex. It is unjust for the government to discriminate among its citizens, providing some more and others less liberty based on immutable characteristics. That every person should be treated equally before the law.
But what if the laws were predicated on the very opposite of the principles they where suppose to uphold. The illegality of marijuana was born from government rhetoric that was base on racist fears, misleading propaganda, and lack of of any input from the scientific community.
Without those discriminatory tactics, Cannabis would have been able to be properly studies, developed, and utilized in a manner consistent with it’s healing properties. Instead we have some hard-liner politicians that hold on to and spread the same outdated message.
Misleading Cannabis Rhetoric by Politicians
As the debate on whether to legalize or not to legalize medical marijuana continues in Nebraska, the Governor Pete Ricketts and others, ahead of a unicameral hearing, have held a press conference arguing against the legalization of the substance. See video here.
The governor stood before reporters in Lincoln, Nebraska on Wednesday, 10th March 2021 to present his position on the matter, and he categorically said that if state legislators choose to vote in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, they would be killing their children. “So this is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids,” the governor said. “If you legalize marijuana, you’re gonna kill your kids. That’s what the data shows from around the country.”
Now, that’s not even the half it
During the course of the press conference, Gov. Pete Ricketts also made several misleading remarks about marijuana and how it affects people. He gave some examples and presented data to backup his claim of marijuana being a harmful substance and how there is a dearth of data to prove the efficacy of the substance as a therapeutic intervention for use in medicine.
He cited several reports by various bodies during the course of his diatribe against the use of medical marijuana.
But then, how true are these assertions?
Some of the key points of his press conference were;
- That marijuana is no different from other schedule 1 category drugs such as LSD, heroin, and ecstasy.
- That the use of marijuana destroys the cognitive ability in the brains of young people.
- That Big brands are behind the push for legalization and that they are trying to go around the regulatory process, which experts says is dangerous.
- That Legalizing marijuana is tantamount to killing one’s children.
While we will not join words with the governor on matter bordering his personal convictions, it is as a matter of importance that we set the record straight. To help the minds of many that might, for lack of a better knowledge, have accepted this falsehood as truth.
Marijuana legalization is not a death sentence for anyone much more the children of lawmakers or for the people of Nebraska or for the children of anyone in any other part of the world.
In debunking the claims made by the governor, I will examine each of the takes (above) from his press conference with a view to setting the facts straight.
It is hoped that at the end of this piece, I would have been able to convince you with evidence that much of what the governor has said about cannabis are outright falsehood that stems from [either] a lack of proper knowledge, a deep conviction against change or a damaging need to remain conservative.
Let’s get right to it.
Marijuana and Medical Marijuana
To fully understand the context of this conversation, it is only right to define terms properly and spell out the various concepts as they are and what they stand for.
Marijuana is a loose term used to describe the cannabis plant. The plant has other colloquial names including Maryjane, weed, skunk, and etcetera. However, in medical circles, the term marijuana has come to be accepted to describe cannabis with higher concentration levels of THC, usually levels rising above the official maximum of 0.3% THC content level that is required for medical marijuana.
Besides Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabis contains other cannabinoids namely; Cannabidiol (CBD), CBN, CBG, terpenes and many other derivatives. All of these derivatives can work individually to produce their own effects or together to produce the “entourage effect.”
Of all the derivatives, only THC is able to produce a psychotropic (the “high”) reaction in users. As such, cannabis containing more than 0.3% THC content is not acceptable for use as medical marijuana.
As have been explained above, refers to cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC levels. Science through evidential research has shown that medical marijuana offers enormous therapeutic benefits, and is able to provide relief and medicinal intervention for pain management, allergy management, anxiety management, management of severe seizures; for which there is an FDA approved cannabis medication for the condition, and management of the after effects of chemotherapy; there is also another FDA approved cannabis medication for this too.
Several research show that CBD based medications containing less than 0.3% THC, has no adverse effects, would not cause an impairment and can be a perfect remedy for some of the world’s most debilitating conditions.
So, why say it kill kids?
Debunking the Lies
Marijuana is no different from other schedule 1 category drugs such as LSD, heroin, and ecstasy.
This is not true. While marijuana might reluctantly share the same scheduling category as heroin and LSD, their effects are different. A regular intake of heroin and LSD can leave life-lasting damage to the psychological and physical functioning of the individual, but marijuana affects the psychological and physical health of the individual in many positive ways, helping individuals deal with anxiety and heal from many of its most severe symptoms. The substance is also very potent for pain relief and has found application in the management of seizures, PTSD, and inflammatory conditions.
That Marijuana exists in the same category as heroin in the federal drug scheduling system is a function of a deeply flawed system. It would interest you to know that the accuracy of the scheduling system used for ranking substances is an on-going subject of debate in scientific circles.
Marijuana, although illegal federally and in many states like Nebraska, is widely used recreationally and medically, and arguably, the records shows a tolerable number of cases of marijuana-induced misdemeanor or even fatality resulting from consuming marijuana. The substance does not share the addiction-prone characteristics of heroin, ecstasy or LSD.
In fact, Alcohol and opioid pain killers which are surprisingly legal present an even more potent danger to the healthy wellbeing of an individual than Marijuana. More people have died from Alcohol and Alcohol related death than from cocaine, heroin and marijuana combined.
In the case of THC-induced death cited by the governor, it is safe to say that, this was just an isolated case and the official coroner report clearly showed that while the consumption of THC-rich marijuana likely influenced the abnormal behavioral traits exhibited by the deceased, it wasn’t entirely the cause of death.
Yes! THC-rich marijuana can get you high but the effects are nothing like ecstasy, LSD and heroin.
That the use of marijuana destroys the cognitive ability in the brains of young people.
Early research into the efficacy and otherwise cognitive acceptability of cannabis centered more on providing an intervention for sick children and the results were very impressive. But, while THC-rich marijuana can cause a temporary psychotropic reaction in most individuals, the effect would often wear off under 24 hours.
Marijuana does not destroy the cognitive abilities of young people; rather it offers an effective therapeutic intervention for children suffering from some of the world’s most debilitating conditions. Young persons dealing with anxiety, pain, effects of chemotherapy, and seizures, etc. can benefit from the introduction of medical marijuana into their treatment regime.
The FDA in recognition of the efficacy of marijuana has approved for use marijuana based medication Epidiolex and Marinol (Dronabinol). While Epidolex – a cannabidiol seizure medication is approved for the management and treatment of severe seizures, Marinol (Dronabinol) – a THC-rich approved medication is effective in the management of chemotherapy-induced nausea and anxiety, and AIDS-induced anorexia.
That Big brands are behind the push for legalization and that they are trying to go around the regulatory process.
Across the country, forward-looking state assemblies and administrations that have legalized marijuana have witnessed a drop in the number of drug-related deaths and a reduced dependency on addictive medications. There are even statistics on suicide records that show a remarkable decline in the number of suicides in particular states after the legalization of marijuana.
So, the big question is, should government be more concerned about proffering solutions that benefit the healthy wellbeing of the people or more about who is making the demand and push for such actions?
The question of who is or who isn’t pushing for legalization of marijuana shouldn’t supersede the question of it’s legitimacy as a potent medicinal intervention that is beneficial to the people of Nebraska.
That Legalizing marijuana is tantamount to killing one’s children.
Now, this is beyond preposterous. Everywhere marijuana has been legalized; there has been an upbeat in the healthy wellbeing of the populace. There are statistics-backed reports of reduction of drug-induced violent crimes, and deaths resulting from overdose, and lessened expenditure on policing.
While marijuana can get you high, it is not possible to fatally overdose on marijuana.
They said it would kill our children back in the 1930’s too. They also said our children would be deranged crazy people. Yet some how generation after generation kids who smoked pot continues use THC and CBD products and live happy productive professional lives.
In fact one of those pot smoking kids grew up to be President of the United States of America. It’s nothing at all like the propaganda suggests.
I would like to reiterate that marijuana legalization is not without risk; however, the harm associated with marijuana use and legalization pales in comparison to damaging effects from prohibition. The economic, social and health benefits of legalizing marijuana are too numerous for government systems and society to ignore.
It is my sincere hope that the people of Nebraska would make a sound choice with a Yes vote for marijuana legalization whenever it comes to that.
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