Medical marijuana is an idea whose time has come.
The recent overwhelming victory for legalizing medicinal pot in Michigan (63 percent in favor!) is the latest eloquent testimonial to that fact.
What this shows is that the American public is completely ready to accept medical marijuana into the mainstream where it belongs. Most people no longer buy the threadbare, alarmist nonsense being peddled out of D.C. by the Office for National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); more and more families know at least one patient who has experienced the palliative properties of pot. The hysteria and moral bankruptcy of the Reefer Madness crowd has been exposed for what it is -- superstition and silliness, the irrational fear of a non-toxic herb.
The victory in Michigan was so complete that every single county in the state voted to legalize medical marijuana.
With the victory in Michigan, well more than a quarter of the population of the United States now lives in states (there are now 13 of them) where medical marijuana is legal.
Michigan reinforces the now-obvious fact that a well-written law, backed with a well-crafted and well-financed campaign (thank you, MPP!) can not only get medical marijuana legalized on a state-by-state basis, but can do so with the overwhelming, super-majority support of voters.
Of the 11 states plus the District of Columbia that have put cannabis medicine to a vote since 1996, 10 states plus D.C. passed medical marijuana, with only South Dakota defeating the measure with 48% support. The other measures passed with votes from 54% to 69%. (1996: CA 56%, AZ 65%; 1998 OR 55%, WA 59%, AK 58%, DC 69%; 1999 ME 61%; 2000 CO 54%, NV 65%; 2004 MT 62%; 2006 SD 48%; 2008 MI 63%. Arizona’s and DC’s laws are inoperable, though, since Arizona relies on federal prescriptions and the District of Columbia was blocked from implementing the law by the Barr Amendment, authored and pushed through by conservative Georgia Republican Congressman Bob Barr, who in 2008 tried to reinvent himself as a Libertarian presidential candidate.)
In Rhode Island, medical marijuana was legalized through the legislative process rather than through a voter initiative. In 2006, the Rhode Island House overrode a veto by Gov. Don Carcieri, 59-13, allowing people with illnesses such as cancer and AIDS to grow up to 12 marijuana plants or buy 2.5 ounces of marijuana to relieve their symptoms. Those who do are required to register with the state and get an identification card.
According to Bruce Mirken, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, the medical marijuana laws of Hawaii, Vermont and New Mexico were also passed through their state legislatures. MPP's detailed compendium of state medical marijuana laws is very useful: http://www.mpp.org/legislation/state-by-state-medical-marijuana-laws.html
According to a 2004 poll conducted by AARP, 72 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "Adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician recommends it."
The task now before us in the medical marijuana community is to get well-written initiatives on the ballot in the 37 states that do not currently allow legal pot use by qualifying patients. At this point, it's only a matter of having the will and the financial means to do so.
Reality Catcher predicts this will happen over the next dozen years; the process will pick up even more momentum as it acquires an air of righteous inevitability. By 2021, patients from coast to coast in the United States will at last be able to legally choose and use the medicine that is most effective in providing relief from their pain and nausea.
Yes, even back in my home state of Alabama, a change is gonna come. One of my personal ambitions is to smoke one of the first legal joints in the Heart of Dixie with Loretta Nall and Christie O'Brien and the rest of those wonderful and brave folks at Alabamians for Compassionate Care.
Only after a majority of the states have medical marijuana laws of their own will the federal government finally come around; it seems there's a serious shortage of backbone in D.C. when it comes to progressive drug laws. But sanity and compassion is eventually going to happen on the federal level, too. (One hopes at least that the incoming President holds true to his pledge to end federal raids on patients and providers in states which have legalized medical marijuana.)
Think of it -- the sheer madness of arresting and jailing sick people and those kind and brave enough to provide them with their medicine will end. The long nightmare will finally be over. The sick and the dying won't have to worry about having the doors kicked in and their homes raided by gung-ho law enforcement agents who've watched a few too many episodes of Cops.
Change is coming to America.
Resources For Michigan Medical Marijuana Patients
Michigan Dept. of Health - Medical Marihuana Program
Michigan Medical Marijuana Association
Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care
The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation - Michigan (THCF Medical Clinics)
Marijuana Policy Project: Michigan Medical Marijuana Law Now In Effect