While fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana, on a national level, there is still a stigma about the plant that we just haven’t been able to get around. We have legalized most everything we can put a price tag on although much of it causes more health, environmental, and relationship problems than marijuana. And even though industrial hemp has long been considered the most useful, sustainable, and versatile agricultural product in existence, it is still illegal to grow in the United States. Why is our culture so determined to demonize the entire Cannabis family?
Perhaps it is the similarity to the word “cannibal.” Then again, we gave Anthony Hopkins an Oscar so we have no unsurpassable disdain for those with alternative eating habits. So why those with different smoking habits? (By the way, it can also be used for cooking. The brownies are smashing.)
Based on the continued presence of the Tobacco Industry, it obviously can’t be the smoking itself that we have a problem with. We accept the liver failure from alcohol, the emphysema from cigarettes, the high cholesterol of butter, and the irregular bowel movements, nausea, and sexual dysfunctions of pharmaceuticals, so the problem can’t be with health concerns. Perhaps it is the altered consciousness?
Most any doctor can get you uppers, downers, oxys, xandy bars, manufactured THC, or a number of other mood-enhancing concoctions. As long as you’ve got good insurance or a hefty bank account, you and the Pharmaceutical Industry can get you to pretty much any level of consciousness you’d like, within the realm of Science. Perhaps it’s the ease of accessibility and inability to tax it all?
Nevertheless, people could grow their own tomatoes if they wanted to, yet most of them still opt to purchase them from someone with a little more skill in the art of gardening. Considering the clamor of those who want the right to purchase marijuana and hemp products, surely some sort of market could be established in order to turn at least a moderate profit for the good tax-paying citizens who would save their neighbors from having to tend to the plants themselves. Thinking a bit larger, corporate entities could allow for the research of recommended dosage and create quite an industry from knowledgeable use. Perhaps it is the fear of mass addiction?
Fortunately, there is already an established Marijuana Anonymous treatment program should anyone wish to use it after finishing up with Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Nicotine Anonymous, and Crystal Meth Anonymous. Considering that people are going to find their way to addictions whether they are legal or not, could it be a question of morality?
Is cannabis good or is it evil? I guess that depends on how much fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you’ve eaten. How much perfect, divine understanding do you think you’ve achieved since following the serpent up the windy path of morality? Can we honestly judge the morality of a non-human thing? Can we gauge the morality of a plant any more than we can gauge the morality of a tiger, an antelope, or a toaster oven? Shouldn’t more weight should be given to the value of a thing? In which context are we thinking? Are we living in a perfect garden of abundance where all things sprout from the perfect will of God or have we been cast out where the world conspires against us?
The question we need to ask is, is it worthless? Even though it may not be fully appreciated by many, does it have any useful value for our society? Surely, it can’t be without worth altogether. Can there be no value in it when people cry for it and risk jail time to use it as medicine? Can we really find no value in the clothing, plastics, paper, food, and fuel that can be made from it? It sure seems like we value them when those items are made from petroleum and other less sustainable resources.
So why do we fight so hard to limit our economic development, our environmental sustainability, and our neighbors’ freedom to develop his own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness? Does anyone have an ironclad idea of how it could make economic, social, or emotional sense to not pardon the Cannabis family and ingratiate them into our culture?