Federal government should make cannabis oil open to all

By: Alyssa Brass

Dear Editors:

I am writing as a member of Mr. Winkel’s American Literature 1940s to Today class. The topic that I believe needs to be looked at is the legalization of medical marijuana. I recently read Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” which has inspired me to bring this issue forward.

For about the last five to seven years, legalizing the use of medical marijuana has been a huge issue in national and local news. As of June 2014, 23 states have made the use of cannabis oil legal. Because only certain states have passed laws legalizing it, it’s very hard for people in need of it not in those states to get it. They either move to a state where it is legal, or they go without. I believe that there needs to be federal laws in place to eliminate all the complications from state to state.

Dr. King said, “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to  obey just laws. Conversely, one has a responsiblity to disobey unjust laws.” I think that this quote explains how most Americans who would benefit from the use of medicinal marijuana are forced to go without because it is illegal to have in some states. Most Americans are not willing to risk real prison time no matter how much they need the oil.

This issue affects everyone because almost anyone you talk to has an opinion on the topic. Some may argue that legalizing medical marijuana leads to legalizing recreational marijuana, but I feel that those people do not have a good grasp on the facts of what cannabis oil truly is. The THC from recreational marijuana (the high) is taken out to make cannabis oil. Theoretically, you could consume a whole gallon of cannabis oil and still not be high. Now is the time to create federal laws making medical marijuana legal in all states because the evidence of its effectiveness is surfacing with more and more disorders and diseases. More and more people are hearing about how this stuff works through social media and the Internet and are trying to figure out loopholes to obtain it illegally. I think that before it becomes a free-for-all, the government should put laws in place to regulate the quantity and transportation of the oil.

An example of the troubles faced by those seeking help is an Iowa man named Benton Mackenzie who illegally grew 71 marijuana plants outside his parents’ trailer to treat his terminal cancer. People with his type of cancer lasted a mere three years using traditional treatments. Mackenzie has lasted seven years and defended his decision to break the law in front of the judge. As King said, “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did was ‘illegal’.” What Mackenzie did was technically against the law, but he was doing what he had to to survive and was not harming anyone in the process.

I believe that federal laws regulating the transportation, possession and manufacturing of cannabis oil would lower marijuana related crimes, boost the economy and allow for less confusion between states regarding the subject. I think that people who find this issue important would accept laws regulating it as long as the people who needed it for medical reasons could easily gain access to it. The effect cannabis oil has on certain diseases is so much more than traditional methods that it won’t be long before people who have been struggling for a long time get it illegally. I believe that instead of throwing these people in prison or fining them for “misuse”, there should be laws in every state setting reasonable guidelines they have to follow.

Martin Luther King said, “Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.” The robbed in this case are the people in need of medical marijuana that have been denied it because of the state they reside in. I believe that if society pushes this issue enough, the robbers, or the federal government, will be forced to reevaluate the state laws and possibly develop federal laws to eliminate frustration for both the people trying to get cannabis oil and the state governments trying to enforce the laws forbidding them of getting cannabis oil.

Respectfully,

Alyssa Brass

CFHS junior

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