Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Free the weed

Last summer Congressmen Ron Paul and Barney Frank introduced HR 2306, a bill that would give states the right to establish their own medicinal cannabis policies.  The measure was of course deemed dead on arrival as is usual with cannabis law reform initiatives, but Obama's decision to escalate the conflict next month by sending in Federal troops to close California dispensaries could ironically spark the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition.

The truth is out about this safe and effective garden medicine that rarely harms and never kills, and that's bad news for the forces of an Industrial Age that sought to make shoppers of us all.  Patients who choose cannabis typically drink less and use fewer manufactured drugs.  This outlawed flower comes without a set of instructions, but with no danger of a lethal overdose or physical addiction, patients become pioneers, investigators and experimenters who treat themselves and bravely share their discoveries online.

Although the number of cannabis consumers in the US is probably less than ten percent of the total population, most Americans support the right of their fellow citizens to use cannabis for medicine.  Small-scale home cultivation for private use is taking off.  Seeds, clones and medicinal formulations are being shared through a peaceful, cautious and nurturing underground community straight out of Bradbury's visionary tale Fahrenheit 451.
Aided by wise healers with medicinal plant knowledge going back thousands of years, an increasing number of patients are using manufactured medicines as a last resort, and turning to their doctors for diagnoses and when needed, surgery. They rightly believe that making medicinal use of intelligently selected plants is not a radical practice any more than hoisting water from a clean well is a radical alternative to buying bottles at the store.

If mainstream Americans were to spend a week's worth of their TV time online investigating cannabis, they would discover a shocking and most convenient truth; our freedom to decide what we use for medicine, fun and stimulation was taken away not for the good of society or for our own protection.  The twisted reality of the Western healthcare model is that without laws, propaganda and military force to 'discourage' free choice and personal exploration, their monopoly power would evaporate.

The inevitable restoration of the right to choose cannabis will mark the beginning of a slow and painful decline of Americanized medicine.  Many will lose their jobs as last-century businesses fail, and as government agencies charged with drug enforcement and control are downsized or eliminated.  Not a pleasant prospect in the midst of possibly the worst recession in history, but staying the course is no longer possible in an age of instant communications, border-less social networks, and a rising populous cry for smaller, less intrusive government.

Now that the internet is brimming with cannabis testimonials from regular, honest and genuinely surprised survivors like Emily Sander (cancer) and Shona Banda (Crohn's), the big question is how many more US Administrations will be allowed to duck, dodge, bully, stammer and squirm away from the truth in service to a moralistic, commercialized, media-supported framework that from cannabis country looks like a Mel Brooks tollbooth?

Early on Obama pledged to leave medicinal cannabis decisions to the states.  This month he's threatening to spend more of our money to violently disrupt the lives of peaceful state-legal cannabis patients and entrepreneurs in California.  With activists already in the streets across America standing up against abuse and greed in general, this President may unintentionally spark a unified movement with the power to insist that America finally restore our basic human right to choose and responsibly use cannabis.

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