Last Wednesday, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General, appeared on “CBS This Morning” and said “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful… I think that we have to use that data to drive policymaking,”. He is hopeful that we will get more data on the efficacy of marijuana as more states legalize marijuana and loosen the strictures on marijuana research.
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the federal government of the United States. Unfortunately for the feds, this is a category reserved only for drugs with zero medical value. And now that the Surgeon General of America has publicly stated that marijuana has untold medical benefits and that he expects more data to be found as research expands, shouldn’t that change the classification of marijuana in America? Starting with California in 1996, 21 states along with the District of Columbia have legalized or decriminalized medical marijuana.
Surprisingly, Dr. Murthy is not the first Surgeon General to endorse medical marijuana. In 1993, 3 years before California pioneered the movement by being the first state to legalize medical marijuana, Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was pro legalization. That was during the Clinton Era! And people are still serving jail time for possession! Elders has since campaigned for cannabis legalization in several states.
The medical consensus is that marijuana has medical benefits and the classification under federal law should be changed. Now it is up to the Attorney General. And he has good reason to do so. A recent news report claimed that painkiller deaths have dropped significantly in states with legal pot.
Potheads have long known of marijuana’s analgesic properties. And it seems that pill poppers are catching on too. America has a pill addiction, specifically to opiates such as OxyContin (essentially an analog of heroin) which is not difficult to over dose on. In 13 out of 21 states who have legalized medical marijuana, pain killer over doses have decreased by 25% since marijuana legalization. There is no way of knowing for sure if addicts abandoned their opiates for cannabis in an attempt to legally eliminate pain, but the research does point in that direction.
The Attorney General might also bring his attention to declining crime rates in states with legal recreational cannabis since legalization.
Overall, marijuana, when used responsibly by responsible people, makes us healthier, happier, and less likely to go out on a crime spree, because we’re just having too much fun at home. We’re glad the Surgeon General realizes that.
by Suzanna Mountain