Patricia M. Tully
More people are forgetting the negative stigma attached to marijuana and embracing it for the medicinal qualities it provides. At one time, not too long ago it was legal in the U.S. and it seems it will be again in the not too distant future. Currently there are 23 states (including the District of Columbia) that have made marijuana legal for medicinal purposes. Two of the 23 have also made it legal for recreational use (Colorado and Washington). By law, the government must abide by its citizens wishes, after two thirds of the states pass a law it must go into effect. So, roughly, after another 10 states pass a medical marijuana law it will go into effect nationally. The states by alphabetical order are: Alaska – 1998, Arizona – 2010, California – 1996, Colorado- 2000, Connecticut – 2012, District of Columbia – 2010, Delaware – 2011, Hawaii – 2000, Illinois – 2013, Maryland – 2014, Maine – 1999, Massachusetts – 2012, Minnesota – 2014, Michigan – 2008, Montana – 2004, New Hampshire – 2013, Nevada – 2000, New Jersey – 2010, New Mexico – 2007, Oregon – 1998, Rhode Island – 2006, Vermont – 2004, Washington – 1998
Reported by: NCSL - National Conference of State Legislatures – State Medical Marijuana Law 5/29/14
Back to Our Grassroots
History of Cannabis.
The use of cannabis/hemp dates back to the Chinese emperor Sheng – nung in the twenty – eighth century B.C. It was grown for use of its fiber states (Mikuriya, 1969, p. 34). He goes on to state “In India the use of hemp preparations as a remedy was described before 1000 B.C. In Persia, cannabis was known several centuries before Christ.” (Mikuriya, 1969, pg. 34). Medicine in the West was introduced to the therapeutic effects of cannabis by W.B. O’Shaughnessy, in 1839. After testing on different animals he was content with the drugs reasonable safety for the use on humans and found that it had sedative and analgesic qualities. (Mikuriya, 1969, p. 35-36 & Johnson, 2013, p. 301) “O’Shaughnessy successfully relieved the pain of rheumatism and stilled the convulsions of an infant with this strange new drug. His most spectacular success came, however, when he quelled the wrenching muscle spasms of tetanus and rabies with the fragrant resin.”
“Medicine in the Western World has forgotten almost all it once knew about the therapeutic properties of marijuana or cannabis” (Mikuriya, 1969, p. 36). Johnson states, “By 1854, cannabis was recognized in the U.S. Dispensary for the treatment of neurologia, gout, tetanus, hydrophobia, cholera, convulsions, spasticity, hysteria, depression, insanity, uterine hemorrhage, and contractions during childbirth delivery.” There are many other diseases and illnesses marijuana has helped. “Medical marijuana has been found to help with symptom management for diseases including, but not limited to, cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injuries, glaucoma, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrigs’s disease) and Parkinson disease. Medical marijuana has been reported as helping individual’s with nausea, vomiting, appetite stimulation, pain reduction, spasticity control, improved sleep, bladder spasms, inflammation, and mood disturbances.” (Johnson, 2013, p 302-303)
Illegalization of Marijuana.
Medicines that contained cannabis were easy to come by till the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, states Johnson. “The tax of one dollar per ounce when used for medicinal purposes had a prohibitory effect. The National Formulary and Pharmacopoeia then removed cannabis in 1942. Subsequent legislation, such as the Narcotics Control Act and the Controlled Substances Act, further penalized the use of cannabis” (Johnson, 2013, p. 302) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will determine if a drug consists of a chance for abuse, if so it petitions the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to add it as a controlled substance. “… where a scheduling system