Pubdate: Thu, 02 Feb 2012 Source: Auburn Plainsman, The (Auburn U, AL Edu) Copyright: 2012 The Auburn Plainsman Contact: http://www.theplainsman.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1880 MEDICAL MARIJUANA A FIRST STEP TOWARD LEGALIZATION Rep. K. L. Brown, of Calhoun County, has filed legislation into the Alabama House of Representatives that would make medical marijuana legal. As reported by the Aniston Star, Ron Crumpton, co-president and executive director of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition, is optimistic about the legislation's chances. "I don't think it will be that much of an uphill battle," Crumpton said. "Many of the Republicans who took over the Legislature in the last election are younger guys -- between 30 and 45 -- who don't associate the same stigma with marijuana that older people aE& do." We're pleased to see Brown is giving Alabama another chance to take a step forward on the road of personal responsibility. We've lived for too long in a state and nation governed by people who believe they know better than we how to run our lives. The people we send to Montgomery and Washington are our representatives. We are the check of their power and behavior, not the other way around. We're not as optimistic as Crumpton the legislation will receive the support it deserves, but we still hope the state will make the right decision. Medical marijuana has been shown to alleviate some of the painful symptoms of glaucoma, and it has been proven to help with the loss of appetite and nausea that come with chemotherapy. While we do support this legislation, we believe it's part of a different approach to the full legalization of marijuana. Medical benefits aside, most medical marijuana legislation has been passed as a foot-in-the-door approach to full legalization. Many lawmakers and activists are aware that changing the public's mind about marijuana will require baby steps because of the stigma associated with it. Americans, especially older Americans, have become rooted in their opposition to the plant. For a long time it's been a foreign and far away menace to their society. Marijuana was the evil that crept into your neighborhood and stirred up trouble. We believe its medical legalization will slowly change the minds of this demographic. It won't happen quickly or easily, but it will happen. They'll have family members, friends or neighbors who are prescribed the medication, and they'll notice that they didn't drop dead or commit robbery. Beyond everything on the scale of lunacy is the billions upon billions of dollars that have been used to fund the war on drugs. Our nation existed for some time before the government felt compelled to march from Washington and save everyone from themselves -- using our money to do it, of course. That money would have been better used if it sat in the treasury and moldered. We hope Alabama lawmakers will fulfill their duties as representatives of free, thinking people. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.