- Posted January 21, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Does marijuana help you?
An Activist Point of View
At a ripe young age of 13 I was conditioned to question cannabis policy in the United States. Being someone that experienced the reform of cannabis in Canada in the 90s, I knew it was a matter of time before the status quo caught up to reality.
Starting at age 16 I began using cannabis during the weekends, often at parties. I noticed a few things happen to me within a matter of months. The first, and most relevant to my logic, is my change in vision. Coming from a family of terrible vision, I was finding my vision worsening from age 10 on. However, within a year of light cannabis use my vision was found to be nearly back to 20/20. The doctor had no explanation, but I can say that to date, I don't wear glasses, and have been using cannabis daily for nearly eight years.
Over the next few years I began using more and more, and found that I was able to find motivation to do many of the more monotonous tasks in life that in "sobriety" I loathed. I lost over 60 pounds after beginning to use cannabis, and I know I am not the only one that has lost weight as a result of using cannabis.
As someone that has lobbied at the local, state, and federal levels for medical cannabis, and also as someone who founded and led a chapter of a drug policy reform group, I have been extremely active in noting the benefits of educated cannabis use, which, I will note does, not include smoking it.
As for recreational use, I'm a believer that nearly all cannabis use is medical in some way. While I am fully aware that there are critics out there that will be swift to dispute this, nearly every daily user of cannabis I know uses it, at least in part, to cope with stress. That being said, I am a believer that those over 21 should have the right to purchase cannabis legally. By that age, they have usually come to their own conclusion about the plant, and if they want to consume it, they should be able to do so legally.
If retail shops were opened in my state, I would absolutely take advantage of them. However, being in a state with newly adapted medical laws, I am happy that steps are being taken towards giving people their choice in recreation. I chose the safer form when I had access to my own research.
Based on my background in drug policy, I believe that legalization is an inevitable truth. It is only due to the racist smear campaign of the early 20th century that any stigma still exists on a plant. I also believe that it is a lack of education that prevents Americans from understanding the true benefits of cannabis. Once we get past the debate of smoking and into the debates of treating/preventing ailments using the extracted concentrates will people begin to embrace the benefits of a plant that has been misunderstood for far too long. I have long endorsed a method of legalization surrounding a campaign of regulating cannabis extracts like vitamins, and researching the most effective balance of cannabinoids resulting in a pill that can be taken daily with other multi vitamins.
I have committed a great deal of time towards changing the attitude towards cannabis in my state, and was wearing a suit the entire time. I believe the only real way for change in cannabis policy to occur is to put on a suit, wash your hair and get out, educate and lobby to make a difference. The status quo won't listen to a bunch of dirty hippies.
In a nutshell, cannabis has been an extraordinarily positive influence in my life, helping me figure out what makes me happy (and what does not), as well as providing an outlet of recreation that has little or no long term side effects.