We are citizens who stand for peace, justice, and equal treatment under the law.
Devastation is the calling card of prohibition. Its disciples have been blinded by bigotry, and a rapacious lust for power which is impossible to quench. Backed by special interests, the drug war has left a scar across mother earth, deep and wide. The cornerstone of these endeavors is greed. The poster child of these injustices is cannabis.
In the United States, and subsequently across the globe, cannabis went from being a widely accepted traditional remedy, to being labeled a dangerous narcotic overnight - in historical contexts. This was done without any scientific evidence provided to support the assertions made by hardline activists, abusing their public offices and power. Citizens across our country have acknowledged the therapeutic potential of cannabis, as witnessed by their legal challenges, voter initiatives, and state legislation addressing the disparity between law and reality.
The federal status quo further aggravates hardships faced by all medical cannabis patients. Monopolizing patents, obstructing objective research, and working to subvert patient access to the healing properties of cannabis, are all themes played out time and again within the United States. This is not hyperbole. It is documented in myriad court cases spanning decades, leading right into the present moment. These difficulties include a lack of federal funding, a complex research approval process, and a shortage of government-approved cannabis for clinical trials.
These are some of the casualties of the government's declared war on cannabis: The disabled, the sick, and the dying.
We know cannabis has medical value, we are fed-up with bureaucratic efforts to block its medicinal use, and we are weary of those on the political margins - left and right - who advocate the cult of cultural warfare. Federal drug agencies within the United States have, of course, strongly resisted efforts to end the medical prohibition of cannabis.
It is likely these agencies will continue to agitate their clients in politics, law enforcement and the pharmaceutical sector to oppose such action. From our perspective, there is precious little political profit to be gained opposing compassion. Surely if physicians can be trusted to prescribe morphine, they can be trusted to employ cannabis in a safe, medically appropriate manner.
On the surface making cannabis legally available for medical purposes seems simple. As a natural substance, however, cannabis is not a “new drug.” Nor does it have a private pharmaceutical sponsor. Creating a rational system of prescriptive medical access encompasses complex regulatory and legal issues. There are also concrete concerns of appropriate governmental control over, and involvement in, programs of research, cultivation, manufacturing and distribution.
These questions require careful, public consideration. No one is advocating that all patients with cannabis-responsive disorders be forced to use cannabis. Ultimately the decision to employ any medication is a profoundly personal one which is best left to the patient and physician.
Federal cannabis reform is imminent, prohibition has failed again on a grand scale, and the world is ready for a fresh approach to public health, law, and criminal justice.
So mote it be.
-The Veterans Action Council
*Excerpts from the "Green Paper" were used for this article.