The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Welcome to Colorado!
Colorado. Beautiful mountains. Beautiful rivers. Beautiful lakes. Beautiful environment. Beautiful nature. Beautiful people. Beautiful everything. Great for everything. Whether you live in Northern, Southern, Eastern, or Western Colorado, there is something for you to do, whether in the city for work, or on a mountain for hiking or a nice long road for biking. Colorado is for you and Colorado is for me. It is the one place where everyone can truly be free to be themselves. Colorado is the garden of Eden. Literally and figuratively. I do not personally live in Colorado, but if there was any other place in the world that I could call home and would want to live: It is Colorado.
Colorado is not just home to beautiful scenery and really great people, but it is home to one of the very first states accepting and embracing the legalization of cannabis, also known as marijuana. While I will tell you, it is a drug, just like the coffee you are holding in your hand right now is, or the food you can’t wait to eat at lunchtime is, which can be just as addictive as a drug, it is more than a drug. It is a plant with a series medicinal side effects, most of which are beneficial to its user.
Colorado first restricted cannabis on March 30, 1917. It would not be until November 6, 2012, almost 100 years later, in which the cannabis plant would be embraced by not just the people who enjoyed its benefits, but by society as a whole, including the state and local governments. For the first time in the history of everyone who is alive today, people can now smoke cannabis and eat cannabis without being harassed or having to worry about “law enforcement agencies” and society deeming them criminals. The fiber from cannabis can be used for food or as a byproduct to make clothing, paper, fuel, oil, string, and many other things. Medical cannabis is even in pill form which can be ingested and will result in medical benefits to the body. The more exposure to the idea that cannabis is really just a plant with some medicinal properties, the more chance that it has of not being seen as a demon plant that possesses people, put here by the devil. It is seen as an actual plant, just like any other plant, like the Aloe Vera plant, the Green or Black tea leaves plants, and others, and with beneficial side effects. Throw those leaves in some hot water and you can reap the benefits.
For those of you reading this who believe it should absolutely be illegal and refuse to even consider otherwise, please know this: Americans watch their parents and siblings die everyday, from alcoholism, from food, and from “prescription drug medications” and there are rarely any consequences to anyone who keeps those things legal. You are okay with that? But not a plant you probably don’t even understand? With that logic, however, all things that are harmful to the human body, should be illegal. Therefore, all food and all alcohol and all prescription drugs should be illegal, as they are more harmful to our health than helpful. How many people run off to give into their fast food addiction. How many people die from heart attacks or strokes and while the medical industry knows full well that arteries were clogged from cholesterol, the medical condition of the ill or deceased is simply written off as “bad health.” Thus, if these things are kept legal, than I simply argue that the cannabis plant should be legal as well.
For the purposes of this article, I will stay away from recreational use and focus solely on medical cannabis, as adding spiritual and recreational uses will enhance this article easily into 10 more pages. The term “medical marijuana” or “medical cannabis” is really just a made-up term by professionals in the medical field, politicians, etc., who were arguing for or against it, and needed to call it something. We do not call it “medical alcohol” despite using alcohol to clean wounds or kill bacteria. We rarely use “medical tea” as a term, despite the many benefits that come from drinking tea. We do not say “medical food”, but do call it health food. Therefore, medical marijuana is simply marijuana, or cannabis, that has beneficial side effects for different diseases in humans. There are variations of the cannabis plant that can cause different reactions. It all depends on the strain of the plant. For example, the plants are bred with different versions to create new effects. There might be an effect for those who suffer from insomnia, paranoia, hunger, lack of energy, etc. There are enough cannabis strains that have different effects on the body and will usually help. For the remainder of this article, marijuana will be referred to as cannabis, as that is a better term to be associated with it for health and medicinal purposes.
Where legal, cannabis is currently being used for medicinal purposes and seems to work better than anything a prescription drug can offer. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and deny this:
This man with Parkinson’s Disease suffers because cannabis is illegal in his state and all the prescription drugs he has tried do not work. Look at how calm and relaxed he becomes after his cannabis use. The worst possible side effect he can have from cannabis? He will probably get too tired and fall asleep if he takes in too much of it. Or, he will experience hunger. It is beyond me to see the medical benefits of cannabis and yet there are still deniers of the positive and useful side effects of the plant. If you have never tried cannabis, than you cannot deny it. If you have tried it and had a bad experience, than I can only offer you three reasons for that:
- You were not used to it and you do not take drugs or even drink alcohol often
- You really did have a bad experience and cannabis does not cope well with your body
- You want it kept illegal because the government tells you its bad
Imagine going on a roller coaster ride, in pitch black where you cannot see anything, and all you can do is feel the ride. It would be very scary. This would cover number one. For number two, I cannot eat anything I want, because I must eat gluten-free and near dairy-free products, as the side effects of gluten and dairy foods bloat me, cause weight gain, and bring about nausea. Does this mean that since I cannot have this food, no one else should have it, either? Not at all, go ahead and enjoy! Now we move on to the last one, of which our government and our politicians, who we know are largely corrupted (do I need facts for this? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), funded by lobbyists to influence them and bend their will away from the interests of the people, and only towards corporate interests, are there to tell us it is bad. Once upon a time, I believed the government. I believed in the government. I believed they stood for my rights. Our rights. The rights of the American people. Nowadays, I am not so sure. From 2003 on, I, and many others, saw firsthand just how much the government is willing to lie to the entire American population, and even to the world, and how much they do not have the people’s best interests at heart.
While this is not a research article and I will not make claims, I encourage you to do yourself a favor and do your own research. I even highly encourage you to go visit Colorado for a weekend and see what all the hype is about. Go check out the hiking trails and go visit a medical and a recreational cannabis shop. Really, you won’t find much hype at all. You will just find people living their lives, going to their jobs, working, making bank so they can keep on living their lives. I am pretty sure everything you see in Colorado is probably just like your own state. Don’t worry, feel free to say hi to people. Coloradans are actually quite friendly people. If you are looking for a hiking trail (I recommend trying the Manitou Springs Incline) or even a cannabis shop, there are plenty who will be glad to point you in the right direction.
This article should give you some idea of how many people die a year due to everything, including the cannabis plant: Annual Causes of Death in the United States. Don’t believe that article? They apparently did their research and cited everything so I didn’t have to. There are more things killing people in the world than touching, using, smoking, or eating the cannabis plant. In fact, 100% of everything else kills people. Does this mean the cannabis plant is not dangerous? It can be dangerous, like anything else. For example, if a person drives while under the influence of cannabis, this may equate to a person who is exhausted and chooses to drive, or a person who is under the influence of alcohol and chooses to drive. For that reason, driving while under the influence of any substance should be illegal. However, this does not mean cannabis itself should remain illegal.
The cures and treatments that medical cannabis is helping is already a long list including inflammation, major depression, mania, arthritis, epilepsy, different cancers, asthma, back pain, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, obesity, muscle spasms, alcohol abuse, anxiety disorders, panic disorders, chronic pain, PMS, PTSD, Psoriasis, Schizophrenia, Scoliosis, Multiple sclerosis, diabetes, eczema, hypertension, hepatitis, Tourette’s Syndome, glaucoma, and many others. This is not to say that cannabis is a cure for everything, but the CBD and THC cannaboids within the cannabis plant can help alleviate a lot of symptoms associated with these diseases, aches, and pains. If you live in a state where medical cannabis is accepted, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor before you make the decision to self-medicate. There are also no guarantees that cannabis can and will alleviate, treat, or cure any diagnosis you may have.
If you have not seen it already, I highly recommend that you watch Twilight Zone’s The Gift. When you are given a gift, from Earth, a possible cure or treatment to help humanity better itself, would you do all in your power to make it illegal? Who is helping who and who are “the bad guys”? If I offered you the cure for any sickness you had and told you that the only condition was that you had to offer it to the entire world, what would you do with that knowledge that I am giving you? Surely, you would share it. Some of you would think about ways to turn it into profit. How many of you would destroy it or make it illegal? If I told you that it might not end the suffering of humanity, but that it could certainly point the world in the right direction towards medical cures and treatments, would you still share it?
Imagine for a moment that if you or your child were dying and the only treatment was to drink some of the oil from the cannabis plant, yet it was illegal. In some countries, the penalty for even possessing it is death. This is insane and inhumane, yet every year, a few dozen people, maybe in the hundreds, are executed for it. By this logic, people who eat a certain food, consume alcohol, or take a particular medicine, are also eligible to be put to death for participating in these activities. These countries have the harshest law for possession of cannabis. (Saudi Arabia and Malaysia executing people for trafficking in large amounts.) Luckily, in the United States and Europe, the death penalty is never considered for cannabis, however, life sentences to be served in prison may be considered and this is inhumane if you think about it. Innocent people should not be thrown in jail, deemed criminals, and no longer be allowed to live in society. Innocent people, who did nothing more but possess a plant, should not be thrown in jail with murderers, thieves, pedophiles, rapists, etc.
In fact, throwing them in prison harms society even more as a prior taxpayer is now deemed a criminal and will likely have a harder time finding another job once they have “served their time.” A person who possesses a plant, its leaves, or its herbs is not a dangerous person. Sure, they could be, but so can anyone else. On average, we all probably walk by at least a dozen potential serial killers in our lifetime and just take a look at how many convicted pedophiles live near you. I would trust a “pothead” or “cannabis user” to watch a child over a pedophile. To assume a person who possesses or once possessed cannabis is dangerous and even considering putting them in the prison system or to death is wrong and dangerous to society as a whole. Would it be worth the risk if it could save your life or your child’s life? Or would you let your child continue to suffer in pain and not advocate for the legality of its medicinal properties? Go ahead and tell your child that they are going to die because the treatment they need is illegal. While you are at it, ask your child if it makes any sense at all. This is the irony of cannabis: it has hundreds of medical benefits and solutions, with so much more potential, yet less than 10% of the entire world is actually doing any research with it and using it to better society.
Now lets say you, in fact, did capitalize and sold this plant for profit. The government took some money because taxes. The state also took some money because taxes. What would they do with that extra money? Could it be used for healthcare? Education? Drug addiction? Infrastructure? While it might seem evil that you are charging for a cure, the tax dollars generated from it could be used for good. There seems to be endless possibilities in charging a small fee to get some of this medicine. Most people probably would not mind paying for the medicine, especially if it helps them or their child to no longer experience pain, but actually live life with minimal pain and suffering. It could possibly help them just experience a normal childhood for a few hours of the day. Would you say that is worth it for your child? Unfortunately, the government and many states don’t think so, and prefer to believe that the “treatment” is in man-made prescription drugs, with harmful side effects, that cause your child to experience nausea, stomach pains, headaches, diarrhea, etc. Side effects that cause even more pain and suffering than the actual disease itself.
Let us return back to the great state of Colorado. Regardless of whether we talk about recreational use, spiritual use, or medical use, cannabis is taxed and has helped Colorado pay for many of its state programs, including the Department of Education, Governor’s Office, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, Department of Human Services, Department of Law, Department of Public Health and Environment, Department of Public Safety, and the Department of Revenue. The resources of law enforcement are also freed up, reducing their burden and freeing up hours spent “processing citizens for possession of a plant”, as well as facility maintenance and repair, so that they can focus on more serious issues, like real criminal activity, including homicide, burglary, and other crimes.
When society throws people in prison, where they might be able to get away with a misdemeanor, especially if they are white, because lets face it: non-whites, specifically African Americans and Latinos, face the harshest penalties from possession for marijuana, affecting the entire community of that person’s race. If it is the children’s father, than they are now without a father figure, with a now single parent who is forced to raise her children on two minimum wage jobs, where she is hardly ever home to take care of her children, because she now has to work her ass off, so that her children can have a better life, and without her around, her children are guaranteed to make bad choices, thus affecting the entire cycle of life for that community.
The government has now pulled a working man, who was bringing in tax revenue into the state and federal government is no longer working, no longer able to help pay his rent, and give his children a chance in this world, left a woman without a husband or the father of her children, and forced the children to grow up in a world where they grew up fatherless and really had to learn to adapt to that world. A woman is now forced to learn how to take on all her roles, and while not to bring it up, plays hugely into radical feminism, where it is no longer about equality between men and women.
There is no doubt that a good woman would want her man around as a role model or at least a father figure to her children. Again, we can argue that a man thrown in jail for possession is not a good role model, but is an alcoholic or a smoker really much better? The woman must now take on the additional work of doing quadruple the work; working two jobs, doing chores, and trying to spend time with the children that are growing up so fast. Before she knows it, how much did she really get to enjoy being a mother before she realizes that all of her time was spent trying to give her children a better life than she had, though they probably will fall into the same exact trap as she did. I am pretty sure this is not what feminism itself desires.
Whether it is a mark on their record, or getting thrown in jail with rapists and murderers, and losing their jobs, thus becoming a less productive member of society who can no longer pay their taxes because they can’t even get a job, it is very easy to see that our society enforces inequality and prefers to throw otherwise functioning members of society in prison and destroying their lives. The entire system ultimately will come crashing down because it takes people cooperating together to make the system of “law abiding citizens” to actually work.
Colorado has not seen a huge rise in crime since cannabis legalization. In fact, it would make more sense that it deters crime. Instead of having to turn to the black market or drug dealers, those who obtain cannabis go to a store, just as they would a liquor store or a food market, which more often than not, is equipped with cameras, and actually helps citizens and society to be safer. Those stores usually require a license upfront and may make a copy of it to ensure not just their safety, but the buyers as well. Colorado is still a functioning society, with beautiful hiking spots, scenery, and many things to do. While there are plenty of people who use cannabis for recreation, spiritual, and medicinal purposes, not everyone chooses to partake, just as not everyone chooses to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.
States that are in debt and are seeking ways to fund their state programs, and bring in more money, but refuse to consider marijuana legalization and taxation, do not deserve any sympathy, as the answer is right in front of them. If you are given a way to bring in extra tax revenue and you choose not to do it, than whose fault is that? The only way for medical cannabis to fully be legalized everywhere and used to help humanity as a whole, is for the entire states to embrace it, thus forcing the federal government to finally change its ways and end its own corruption and attitude towards prohibition of medical cannabis. We have the cure and we have the treatment for many diseases. Use it or throw it away. When we look back in history, many people will have died that could have been saved, all because a few human leaders really believed a plant was the problem.
I believe that it is important for all humans, sick or not, to have the legal choice of things they want to try or use, so long as it does not harm to others. No one forces anyone to go to a fast food restaurant, but we all have the free choice to stop by on our way home from work and have a bite to eat. We also have the freedom, although once we did not, to stop at a liquor store and pick up some beer, wine, whiskey, or whatever alcohol there is. We also have the choice to stop at a store and pick up a favorite brand of cigarettes. We can also stop by a store, possibly a floral store, and pick up a numerous amount of plants. Why is the cannabis plant treated so differently?
Colorado has made the choice to be different, to choose “for the people” instead of its own political interests. By letting the people choose, Colorado has also benefited greatly. Colorado understands cannabis for medical purposes, and has probably saved more lives because of it. Colorado knows that the people living within the state are also mature enough to make their own sound decisions, to decide for themselves, and how they choose to spend their time, and their money. To keep it illegal and treat society as if they are bad is what the federal government and states have done to its citizens, yet they have no issues of collecting plenty of taxes from our paychecks for the jobs we work. To give us a chance and a choice, and to see what we do, and benefit from what we do, is what Colorado has chosen.
Thank you Colorado, specifically the people, the politicians, and the lawmakers, for being a leader of human rights and privileges.