Today, Californians voted on Proposition 19, which was about legalizing marijuana. It seems to have been defeated, which, considering the flaws in how the bill was written, is a good thing. Both of our candidates for governor opposed Prop 19.
However, the idea of legalizing marijuana has some interest to me. Not for the usual reasons, mind you. I don’t smoke anything, recreationally or medicinally. But, I know that for some people, marijuana – when used as a medicinal herb – does help.
I have taken numerous different herbs at different times in my life. Most are not particularly strong, although some herbs that I can buy over the counter here are prescribed by pharmacists in Europe. It is my belief that marijuana does have positive medicinal qualities, and I like the idea of people being able to utilize it further.
However, HOWEVER, I also know that there are a lot of people – a LOT of people – who would abuse marijuana, if it were legal. And that was the problem with Prop. 19. There were no provisions in the bill for whether or not people could use marijuana and then drive a car and/or go to work and/or work with children. If this proposition had passed as written, theoretically a person could smoke a joint and then go to their work as a school bus driver, or teacher, or any other job where other people’s lives were on the line. That was no good. I’m glad that Prop 19 didn’t pass.
Yet, I also know of stories where people have really been helped by the use of medicinal marijuana. One of the most striking stories I heard was that of a pregnant woman with severe hyperemesis gravidarum (morning sickness). She literally vomited all the time and no medication helped her. She lost weight, and the health of her baby was compromised. In fact, her child was born premature and under-nourished because of the mother’s constant vomiting. With the mother’s next pregnancy, the same thing happened again, except this time a friend suggested she try smoking some marijuana with the hope of it easing her nausea. Since the mother was desperate, she gave it a try — and it worked! With the help of controlled marijuana usage throughout her pregnancy, she got back her appetite for food, kept the food down, gained weight appropriately, and gave birth to a full-term healthy baby. She went on to have 3 more children, using marijuana with all her pregnancies. Her babies are all healthy in body and mind.
I’ve also heard of homeopathic preparations made from marijuana that, not surprisingly, are also used for nausea-related problems.
So, I know that marijuana can be medicinally helpful; I just wish it didn’t have this propensity towards being abused. Because of that, I know that marijuana usage probably should not be legal. But it would be nice to have it as a legal option if one needed it.
Of course, then again, this IS California. As one TV news commentator put it tonight, “Pot is already legal in California!” Which, in all actuality, it is. There are medical marijuana dispensaries all over California; it’s not hard to find one. Plus there are stores around here that sell all the supplies and information one would need to grow their own pot at home. So, for Californians, medicinal marijuana is still a viable option, even if it’s not regulated by the government. And, sooner or later, marijuana probably will become completely legal. Hopefully, if/when it does, it happens with a better-written bill than there was this time.