Maryland has passed a law legalizing medical cannabis. That’s the good news. Here’s the rest: Since the historic legislation was signed, the Old Line State still has not been able to put medical cannabis dispensaries in place. Patients are now demanding the right to just grow their own medicine, as possessing it has been legal for nearly 1,000 days.
That’s not a typo. On April 14, 2014, Maryland legalized medical cannabis. Two other states enacted similar laws the same day; both of those states’ patients have since gained access to their medicine. It’s only Maryland that seems to have such a difficult time getting distribution established.
So, what’s the holdup? Maybe their proximity to D.C. has infected them with the inability to agree on anything. They haven’t been able to agree on how to award the licenses to grow the plant, and they can’t figure out how to properly administer dispensary ownership.
So that brings us back to the question: Why can’t patients simply grow their own? The short answer is fear.
Fear the scary plant
Let’s talk about fear. Cannabis, as medicines go, is essentially a harmless plant. Compared to the opioids it often replaces, danger is nearly nonexistent. And compared to the drugs used to treat epileptic seizures, it’s a clearly superior option due to its high rates of success and negligible side effects. It poses no threat of liver and kidney damage as do Tylenol and Advil, and it works about as well for reduction of pain and inflammation.
No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose. No one, in thousands of years of documented use. So what in the world are we afraid of? Regular folks, non-pharmaceutical company folks, have been sold a line of BS since the turn of the century (the last one, not this one).
Since the early 1900s, the U.S. government has been working extremely hard to make cannabis seem dangerous. The lies are many: It’s addictive and deadly, it drives “colored” men wild with sexual desire for white women, it leads those women astray, it makes users lazy, it’s a “gateway” to harder, more dangerous drugs. (The ones on the LOWER schedules?)
But the big fear, the one that the government doesn’t want you to think about, is control. Just think—if everyone grew their own cannabis, how would the government tax it? If the people are allowed to make their own medicine, how will the pharmaceutical giants make their billions?
And there’s the real problem. Everyone wants to make all the money, patients be damned. Money rules. So let’s just take our sweet time figuring out that most important aspect first, and then maybe we’ll get around to taking care of these annoying patients. Not good optics for the leaders of Maryland.
This needs to end. If the state government can’t get its act together, the legislature needs to pass an emergency law making it legal for patients to grow their own.
Come on, Maryland. Get moving. Put aside your fears and greed, and let your citizens have access to the medicine you promised them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amber Boone considers writing the cornerstone of communication. She interviews MMA (mixed martial arts) athletes for CombatPress.com and opines on MMA at FightItOut.com. She’s passionate about helping folks tell their stories and making the world a better place, which includes working to win the freedom of Americans to partake of the herb. When not writing or playing beach volleyball, she can be found at her day job—for now. Follow Amber on Twitter @thruthetrees11.