Pubdate: Tue, 07 Feb 2012
Source: Olympian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2012 The Olympian
Author: Renata Rollins
Note: Renata Rollins, a board member of the National Organization for 
the Reform of Marijuana Laws Thurston County and past director of 
Washington NORML


Readers of the Jan. 29 Sunday Olympian woke up to two front-page 
headlines, five full-color photos and 85 column inches about the 
legal woes of local medical cannabis providers. The story had all the 
makings of great political drama: ambiguous laws, ambivalent 
lawmakers, undercover cops, lawyers of all stripes.

And yet, I'm in the chorus of millions asking: What's the fuss? Any 
other business accused of a code violation, whether undercooking food 
or selling alcohol to a minor, could expect a visit from a 
clipboard-wielding state worker. But change one detail and it's armed 
federal agents, state troopers and the local narcotics task force at 
the door - usually not knocking politely.

As similar scenes unfold across the nation, more communities bear 
witness to the waste and dishonor of cannabis prohibition. Not only 
does it harm already ailing patients, it makes criminals out of 
people who choose a safer alternative to alcohol, the world's most 
destructive drug.

In 2012, the federal government looks pretty lonely insisting 
cannabis has "no medical use." Research scientists, the American 
Medical Association, traditional medicine practitioners and 81 
percent of the American public acknowledge its therapeutic benefits.

For thousands of years, herbal cannabis has relieved pain and 
inflammation, prevented nausea, treated menstrual discomfort and 
improved sleep. Repeated studies show cannabis helps addiction 
recovery, epilepsy, PTSD and cancer.

The medical marijuana movement deserves credit for raising awareness 
about an herb that was legally sold in the United States until 1937. 
Still, the prescription model is overly restrictive. Imagine if you 
needed an established history of headaches in order to buy ibuprofen. 
Or if you needed a doctor's note to get sleeping pills. Or if you had 
to join a co-op in order to access cough syrup for your kids.

All of these products, incidentally, result in fatal overdoses every 
year. (Herbal cannabis has never killed anyone because it has no 
lethal dose.) And yet we don't think twice about seeing rows of meds 
in every grocery store and gas station. Let's reserve prescriptions 
for truly dangerous drugs like Oxycontin and morphine, slap on a 
label stating cannabis "may cause drowsiness," and stop spending tax 
dollars eradicating a natural remedy.

Again, in 2012, the question isn't whether cannabis should be legal, 
but rather, why not? Herbal cannabis is safer than alcohol, healthier 
than fast food, and less addictive than your daily cup of coffee.

Next to America's drug of choice, there's no comparison: Alcohol 
poisons the liver. Cannabis is nontoxic. Alcohol damages the brain. 
Cannabis is neuroprotective. Alcohol increases violent behavior. 
Cannabis does the opposite. Alcohol makes dangerous drivers. Cannabis 
has less effect on driver safety than fatigue. (These studies are 
cited at and

The propaganda campaign against cannabis has run its course, thanks 
to advocacy groups like NORML, and free information on the Internet. 
As of last fall, a record 50 percent of Americans favor legalization, 
up from just 12 percent in 1969. The game is up.

The T-shirt from The Healing Center co-op in Olympia reads: "If you 
don't like medical marijuana, you won't like the future." Whether 
medical or otherwise, really, what's so bad about that future? Less 
violence, less disease, you'll have the choice to use a safer 
substance without fearing incarceration.

And hopefully, you can read about something more pressing in the paper.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom