Medical cannabis is definitely a hot topic in the United States this year! Roughly half of our states have some medical cannabis laws on the books, and 4 have even legalized recreational marijuana! Wow, you think? We should have the happiest and healthiest patients around! Given the percentage of states that have some form of medical cannabis laws, why do Americans actually take more pills than most of the world? Because many of these laws are symbolic, others are designed to help less than 1% of their populations that need access, and others are so draconian that patients cannot heal themselves. So as you are watching for your states to legalize, pay attention to these buzzwords/terms! The presence of these indicate a high likelihood that the law is symbolic or designed to fail!
Where are you getting it????
Make sure the bill introduced allows for your state to produce and distribute the cannabis legally. Many bills like the one in North Carolina or Montana may allow a patient to possess the cannabis, but they still cannot legally get it! Keep in mind, those bills say you can get it from a state that allows for out-of-state transactions, but what patient can afford that travel expense? Also, many states with medical laws don’t allow for out-of-state transactions! Without a legal means of production and distribution, the law is useless to most patients! Your state has to have a local program for patients to access their medicine. Besides, think of the jobs? You will need an ENTIRE industry of workers!
Only available through University trial studies
This is code word for – you won’t get it. There are several problems with depending on University studies. First, cannabis is Schedule I. This means our government considers it more dangerous than heroin. Doctors can actually prescribe heroin in certain cases, but can lose their licenses for recommending marijuana to a patient! Another topic, sooooooooo this status means that any organization in the US that wants to study cannabis has to submit a proposal to 3 agencies. I believe they are National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), FDA, and the DEA. (I assume everyone knows the last 2 acronyms.) Well, the DEA and NIDA very rarely approve of studies that show benefits of cannabis. Their agencies focus on drug abuse, and both have publicly come out asking why they should approve any other study. Okay, fine. Except you are a required part of the approval process whether the study is benefit or harm. This makes it almost impossible for a University to get approved for trial studies. All cannabis in these studies comes from the farm in Mississippi, so a University cannot just grow their own legally. ***IF*** the University does get approved, it takes years to set up the study. NO ONE is helped by these laws. Check out the story below about how North Carolina’s laws ended up in this situation.
Who is this helping? Maybe 1% of the patients who truly need cannabinoid therapy will be helped significantly. Most research shows that the cannabinoids need each other to perform their duties, and those ratios are what needs to be played with! Even with epilepsy patients, very little respond to CBD only. It is a learning process like any other. With any disease, you try to find the right combinations of medicine, diet, and lifestyle. Each strain of cannabis is a different medicine with a different effect. We should be able to find the ones that work for our particular illnesses. While these laws are a start, they truly don’t accomplish the purpose of the bill – to help end patient suffering.
No time frame limits on setting up a distribution/patient access program
This is another clever way that politicians can trick you into thinking you have passed awesome legislation! So you looked and your bill outlines production and distribution! YAY!!!!! Or so Illinois thought! Their legislation passed several years ago, and as of this writing – NO DISPENSARIES HAVE OPENED. Only now have patients started receiving their licenses. It was almost like the legislators never expected it to pass, and therefore never set up any framework for patient programs. The last several years, politicians have bickered over the nitty-gritty while patients still have no safe access to medical cannabis. Soon I hear, but make sure that your legislation provides a time limit before the programs must be up and running!
If any of these things appear in your bills, know that you have been tricked by your politicians into thinking you helped people! Hold your representatives and elected officials accountable and call the news! The more people are aware, the better! Few know how difficult it is to research cannabis, few know that the universities aren’t required to set up trial programs, few know that the CBD isn’t so effective without THC! Unfortunately the only way to truly end the war on patients, is to fight these symbolic laws and let the public know that patients are still untreated!