CLEVELAND – With the U.S. Supreme Court’s ground-breaking decision to legalize same-sex marriages nationwide, could the legalization of marijuana be far behind.
Thanks to states such as Colorado and Washington being the first to legalize marijuana in 2014, the—pardon the pun—grassroots campaign to make weed legal in the United States is beginning to gain momentum.
In a Newsweek column written by Beau Kilmer titled, “So You Want To Legalize Weed?”, Kilmer writers about the many advantages of legalizing it, and the many benefits of doing so as laws are starting to change in reference to it’s use.
That being said, according to a January 2015 Huffington Post article titled, “Legal Marijuana Is The Fastest-Growing Business in the United States” written Matt Ferner that states, “Legal marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the United States and if the trend toward legalization spreads to all 50 states, marijuana could become larger than the organic food industry,”
So despite all of these positive signs and trends, why is it such a touchy issue socially, culturally and politically of it becoming legal? As a “straight-edge” who has never drank, smoked or done any form of drugs, I’ve always been on the outside of the unique ‘cannabis culture’ that exists today.
If you’re wondering why a non-pot user such as this writer is blogging about a topic such as this, I will happily disclose that this is due to a personal request from one of my closest friends in my god-brother, Larry.
Me and Larry go back friends for almost 25-plus years, as I was actually introduced to him via his cousin, Maylynn shortly after I moved to the St. Clair neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. As our friendship deepened, I moved away to art school in Pennsylvania, while he would marry a lovely Chinese woman named Leilei.
While away, Larry and Leilei would have two beautiful children in Rachel and Daniel—my great-nephew. Originally, I was supposed to be his god-father, but due to both distance and family obligations, I could not make it, but I’m happy to be considered his spiritual god-father and uncle.
We also both suffer from a common disability.
Not many in the blogosphere know this about me, but for the last 33 years of my life, I have suffered from what is called grand mal epilepsy, a disorder that affects the central nervous system. Thankfully, mine has been controlled due to taking a barbiturate medication called phenobarbital.
Thanks to the great efforts of the non-profit organization such as The Epilepsy Foundation Of America—and their branch here in Cleveland—helped educate me more about it, as I was able to successfully deal with and eventually control my disability, before I let it control me.
While I have managed to control my inner demons of epilepsy, Daniel has a more severe form of epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome. Also known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of infancy, it is a rare genetic epileptic dysfunction that begins in the first year of life in infants.
What is unknown to those opposing the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, is that it has been proven that to be effective in treating Dravet’s Syndrome, as reported by CNN in the case of Charlotte Gigi in 2013.
Personally, I knew and interacted with many individuals who smoked weed on a regular basis while in art college, and have no judgments about who they are personally, as they have proved to be some of the nicest people I’ve ever meet.
I think one of the main reasons why society is so resistant to the legalization of weed is the fear of abuse by many. It could happen, no doubt about it, but considering it’s many uses in treating disorders such as epilepsy and Dravet’s Syndrome, it could prove to be very helpful in treating many disorders that plague our world today.
With my home state of Ohio being one of the states trying to legalize marijuana in the form of a petition, supporters must gather 306,000 signatures by July to reach their goal of it being on the ballot this coming November, per Cincinnati.com
If successful, the proposed amendment would allow pot use by adults over the age of 21 and legalize medical marijuana for minors, with parental consent.
While the subject of the legalization of marijuana will continue to be a hot topic, I hope those opposing it will think of the Charlotte’s and Daniel’s of the world before allowing the chance to help others in such a similar plight go up in smoke.