Perhaps its a sign of the times when a state decides to legalize medical marijuana and it doesn’t feel like a big deal. Delaware has joined the plethora of other states who have similarly legalized pot for medical purposes, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington State and Washington D.C.
With the approval of Senate Bill 17, those suffering from conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and chronic back pain (the type of pain suffered by those who want medical marijuana) can now obtain medical marijuana from dispensaries, or what they like to call compassion centers.
Other states also considering legalizing medical marijuana are Pennsylvania and Maryland. But by now, it seems like only a matter of time before the majority of states embrace medical legalization.
Of course, the typical concerns over how pot dispensaries will effect the war on drugs have been voiced by those who still voted for the bill, as well as traditional concerns by police, though they remain neutral on the subject.
It seems lawmakers are taking careful steps around the country to support the medical marijuana movement without negatively affecting their next term in office. A ‘Yea’ vote for those in favor of medical legalization, but voiced concerns for those who are against it.
Yet, even in Delaware the jokes on the subject abound as brownies were passed around masquerading as pot brownies as a party gag. “They were just regular brownies,” said Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, the bill sponsor and brownie provider, “It was done in jest and not to take away from the seriousness of the bill.”
Rep. Dennis Williams, a former detective, declared “times have changed,” as more and more people embrace weed for its medical value, for the treatment of serious diseases and pains.
However, this writer thinks times have changed for a different reason. Yes, people are embracing weed for medicinal purposes, but this is in large part because weed has also been embraced for recreational purposes by more than 104 million Americans over the age of 12 despite recreational use being illegal (2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health).
Times have changed, and as they change, marijuana is increasingly becoming the butt of the joke. Even Williams see’s this, saying “There’s some people in this building who smoked marijuana. They just won’t admit it.” They’ll laugh about it, support laws around it, declare their expertise on the subject, yet cannot admit to ever using.
Why can we not take this drug seriously? I look at a copy of The Stranger, Seattle’s liberal newspaper, which now has a section dedicated to obtaining and reviewing weed. Is it a service for medical users? Or is it a service for those who use the system to get legal weed for recreational purposes?
In any case, tucked sneakily away in the background is that pesky little war on drugs (which doesn’t seem to be doing too well), cartels (who are growing weed in our national forests, and murdering thousands every year), and teen felons (who were once caught with a joint and now stuck with the stigma “FELON” not pot head). Perhaps we should move past this medical marijuana issue and talk about the real dangers out there. Perhaps we should strive to takes strides forward, rather than talk about baby steps.