This Wednesday, a bill to legalize marijuana for medical use was submitted to the senate in Columbus, Ohio. The bill barely passed as 18 out of the 33 senators supported it. Even Gov. Kasich’s spokesman was clearly in favor of the bill. Since the most difficult part is over, the legislation is expected to be at the governor’s desk by the end of May.
Even though the bill is cleared, such a tight result calls for a closer look. Many people ask why there’s such a fight against the legalization of marijuana for medical use. Even when it has proven to be very useful at treating a lot of problems, its legalization has been more than a bumpy road.
A lot has changed since the 60’s when marijuana was legal and consumed for recreation. However, there is a lot of ‘karma’ the drug has dragged from those days. People still associate the drug to laziness and crime. In fact, the United States Controlled Substances Act labeled marijuana as Schedule I type of drug. Placing weed it in the same category as heroin. In addition, New Health Advisor associates the use of the drug to really serious mental disorders like psychosis or schizophrenia. Yet it’s no fact considering the organization indicates there is little scientific evidence to back up the claim.
People that oppose the bill say that legalization of marijuana would increase the use. The majority doesn’t approve its legalization for medical purposes out of fear the drug gets out of control. According to this, more people using it means there is a bigger risk of them getting in trouble, such as car accidents. However in 2014, 31 percent of all deaths in car accidents were the direct consequence of drunk imperilment. It’s worth mentioning that alcohol is perfectly legal.
— Hopegrown Media (@HopegrownMedia) May 25, 2016
Other people also claim that smoking cannabis can damage people’s lungs. However, people who smoke tobacco could be around 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer in comparison to non-smokers. There’s a 25.7 times chance of lung cancer for women and 25 times for men, according to the American Cancer Society. The organization also says it is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Nonetheless, tobacco products still remain legal nationwide.
The benefits of legalizing marijuana for medical use
On the other hand, there is a lot of organizations trying to make cannabis legal. Making it legal for recreational use is controversial to say the least. But previous studies have proven the use of marijuana as part of medical treatment. Including the improvement or solution of several conditions.
According to a study published in the American Medical Association’s journal, people who smokes tobacco losses lung capacity overtime. Yet cannabis users could be not as affected when it comes to lung capacity when compared to cigarette smokers. The researchers stumbled upon with the discovery when they were looking for risk factors of heart disease.
Therefore leading them to analyze the participant’s lung capacity. However, the benefit is more likely to come from how people smoke it to actual chemical substances in it. When smoking pot, users have said it’s very common to take deep breaths and hold them for a couple of seconds.
Robert J. DeLorenzo from the University of Virginia used marijuana extract to treat a group of epileptic rats. The mammals were free from seizures for about 10 hours.
The research team led by DeLorenzo said that a component called tetrahydrocannabinol was the responsible. Also known as THC, the component binds the brain cells that trigger excitement and relaxation which controls the seizures. The same component also has been reported to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The senate was a surprising scenario as some republicans and democrats joined forces to support the bill. They pointed out that both medically and logically speaking, the prohibition on medical marijuana makes no sense.
“There is no reason why we should make Ohioans suffer any longer,” said state Sen. Kenny Yuko, a Richmond Heights Democrat.
In a more practical approach, Senator Bill Seitz, a republican from Cincinnati, called for both parties to drop their conservative views. He called its peers to support the bill by bringing up the United States Controlled Substances Act.
If there is something politicians don’t like is throwing money away, and the war on drugs involves massive spending. According to the Drugs Policy Alliance, the state spends over $51 billion to reduce drug abuse.
“Nobody with a straight face could actually claim that marijuana is more harmful than cocaine, yet marijuana is on Schedule I and cocaine is on Schedule II,” he said. “Now if that isn’t nuts, I don’t know what is.”
All this money is translated into the criminalization of drug using, which to be fair, does not only focus on marijuana. However, official reports say that by 2014 at least 30 million American citizens used cannabis in a regular basis. Some people say that the benefits of taxation played a huge part in today’s result.
— Ohio Marijuana (@Ohio_Marijuana) May 24, 2016
But according to most senators, the testimonies of patients whose health has greatly improved with marijuana treatment, convinced the senate. There’s plenty of people who really needs it, especially people who suffer from chronic pain or migraine.
The bill is cleared, yes, but not without regulations. The State Department of Commerce will regulate the drug’s cultivation and distribution. Any dispensary is required to employ a registered pharmacist.
Doctors’ recipes will be continually checked, and the professionals themselves will be receive specialized training. In addition, dispensaries cannot be placed 1,000 feet within a daycare institution, and companies who want to remain drug-free are immune to any punishment associated to doing so. So yes, you can still be fired for smoking pot.