There are signs of a marijuana revolution everywhere.
It is in the op-ed pages of the newspapers, and on the state ballots in nearly half the country. It is in politicians who once preferred to play it safe with this explosive issue but are now willing to stake their political futures on it. The marijuana revolution is in the eyes of sterling scientists, previously reluctant to dip a toe into this heavily stigmatized world, who are diving in head first. It is in the new surgeon general who cites data showing just how helpful it can be.
There is a marijuana revolution in the attitudes of everyday Americans. For the first time a majority, 53%, favor its legalization, with 77% supporting it for medical purposes.
Support for legalization has risen 11 points in the past few years alone. In 1969, the first time Pew asked the question about legalization, only 12% of the nation was in favor.
There is a marijuana revolution that is burning white hot among young people, but also shows up among their parents and grandparents. Police officers are part of the marijuana revolution, as are the editors of the medical journal, Neurosurgery. It is in the faces of good parents, uprooting their lives to get medicine for their children and in the children themselves, such as Charlotte, who went from having 300 seizures a week to just one or two a month. We know it won’t consistently have such dramatic results (or any impact at all) in others, but what medicine does?
The marijuana revolution is in surprising places.
When “Weed 2: Cannabis Madness” aired in March 2014, Boston researcher Rick Doblin believed the right people were watching. Just four days later, Doblin received a letter in the mail he had been waiting on for seven years that finally provided federal approval for his marijuana study. The federal farm where Doblin would have to obtain his marijuana is on the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. In anticipation of a scientific marijuana revolution, the production of research-grade marijuana there has increased 30-fold in just the past year.
Make no mistake, we have plenty of evidence that the approval and support of the federal government can fast track a marijuana revolution at a faster pace than we have yet seen.
It was the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that spearheaded the research into a cure for AIDS, as well as stopping the spread of West Nile Virus. They were also responsible for the awesome task of eradicating polio and smallpox. Other successful federally backed programs include the human genome project, the BRAIN initiative and the Precision Medicine Initiative. There are no shortage of examples where the federal government has been a guardian of our public health needs, and you could argue that medical marijuana would also qualify as a worthwhile investment.
There is now promising research into the use of marijuana that could impact tens of thousands of children and adults, including treatment for cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. With regard to pain alone, marijuana could greatly reduce the demand for narcotics and simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses, which are the greatest cause of preventable death in this country.
The marijuana revolution is in full swing and it cannot be stopped.