The headline in the May 15, 2013 Kentucky Enquirer, ‘Ky Poll: Most Support Medical Marijuana’, which reported on the 2012 Kentucky Health Issues Poll, found that 78% of Kentucky’s citizens think marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. The Kentucky Health Issues Poll is funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati.
Immediately drug and health officials reminded the public that the Food and Drug Administration lists marijuana as a Schedule1 drug, dangerous and having no medical value. Mary Frances, Director of the Assistance For Substance Abuse Prevention Center was quoted as saying that marijuana, “Has no currently accepted use for medical treatment in the United States and is not safe for use even under medical supervision”.
Setting aside the ridiculousness of the Governments position and irrational claims about marijuana, one glaring problem exists. Where are the bodies?
Marijuana is listed in the same category as heroin. Heroin addicts regularly overdose and many times, die when they do. Matter of fact we have a bit of an epidemic of heroin overdose deaths here in Northern Kentucky. Current estimates put regular marijuana use in the country at about 20 million. Where are the arrests for intoxicated violence, intoxicated driving, lost productivity or addiction? Where are the terrible outcomes predicted by those who would continue the policy of total prohibition, in short, where are the bodies?
Recent studies have tended to show more good than bad as regards marijuana use. This is why even now the Government only supports research on marijuana designed to show harm. For example, a recent study on marijuana and driving has shown a 9% drop in fatal traffic accidents in states that allow for access to marijuana. A lung cancer study originally designed to link marijuana smoking and cancer has shown that regular marijuana users get head, neck, and lung cancers at the same rate as people who do not smoke at all. Suicide rates are down slightly in medical marijuana states too. One must ask, Where’s the beef? Where, after a decade and a half of medical access to marijuana in California and other states are all the harms we have been told for 75 years would happen? The problem the authorities have when extolling the harm and horrors of marijuana use is the opposite of the boy in the movie, ’The Sixth Sense’. They don’t see dead people!
Time has come to admit we were duped about marijuana’s dangers in the Thirties, duped by President Nixon and his War On Drugs in the Seventies, and duped again by Reagan and his call to, ’Just Say No!’ We should have said No to the policy of prohibition in the first place!
Time for Kentucky’s legislators to choose logic and science over fear mongering and fiction and pass the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act during the next special or regular session of the General Assembly!