Today's story is an update of one from 23 October 2017 titled Cannabis and Chemo about my first visit to a marijuana dispensary to see if I could find relief for my insomnia.
Over-the-counter sleep aids don't work for me and my doctors are reluctant to give me prescription sleep drugs but one of them suggested weed (I live in Oregon where both medical and recreation marijuana are legal).
I'm expanding on this story because in the past two weeks, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear he intends to find a way to agressively prosecute marijuana growers, distributors, sellers and users. He believes marijuana use is "only slightly less awful" than heroin addiction.
”Sessions argued that the DOJ's hands need to be untied when it comes to prosecuting marijuana dispensaries, 'particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.' reports Amanda Marcotte in Salon.
“There is, of course, no evidence,” she continues, “that marijuana use is contributing to the opioid crisis and, in fact, there's a significant link between legalized medical marijuana and a decrease in opioid overdoses.”
First of all, opioids are about 50 times more addictive than heroin and they are the cause of the current epidemic. Rolling Stone magazine reports that early in 2017,
”...the National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering released a landmark report determining that there is conclusive evidence that cannabis is effective in treating chronic pain.
“What's even more promising is that early research indicates that the plant not only could play a role in treating pain, but additionally could be effective in treating addiction itself – meaning marijuana could actually be used as a so-called 'exit drug' to help wean people off of pills or heroin.”
The reason this is of great interest to elders is that they are the fastest growing group to adopt cannabis for medical reasons.
Motley Fool reports that a recent Gallup poll shows
”...a record 64% of Americans now want to see pot legalized nationally. That's up from 60% in 2016...Support for medical weed is even higher, with a separate survey from Quinnipiac University in April 2017 finding 94% support for legalization.”
But even as old people are fast adopting marijuana especially for medical use, even growing their own in some cases to cut down costs, their acceptance of legal weed lags significantly behind young people's. Motley Foolagain:
“In the combined 2003 and 2005 analysis, Gallup found that only 29% of seniors supported the idea of legalizing weed. By 2016, as noted, this was up to 45%.
The magazine notes that it's hard to tell if elders are increasingly embracing the use of pot or if younger adults are growing into the elder age category.
However - different polls, different results. In October of 2016, The Pew Research Center survey demonstrated widespread support for sensible cannabis laws in nearly every demographic.
”The poll, conducted in August, shows 37 percent against legalization. A decade ago, opinion on legalizing marijuana was nearly the reverse – just 32% favored legalization, while 60% were opposed, Pew reported.
Millennials – those ages 18 to 35 – are more than twice as likely to support legalization of marijuana as they were in 2006 (71 percent today, up from 34% in 2006), and are significantly more likely to support legalization than other generations.
Among Gen Xers — ages 36 to 51 — a majority (57 percent) support legalization, a considerable jump from just 21 percent in 1990.
But even Baby Boomers— ages 52 to 70 — are seeing the light: 56% percent support legalization, up from just 17 percent in 1990.”
Obviously, legalization is a trend that can't be denied.
As I noted in my previous pot post, marijuana is useful for helping to treat and/or alleviate many of the symptoms of the “diseases of age” - cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, arthritis, depression and glaucoma among many others.
I use it for sleep, having switched from cannabis candies to tincture. I have noticed – as I did in all the decades I smoked pot for fun – that there is, for me, a mild hangover the next day. I feel slightly sluggish physically and mentally so I use it only every second or, sometimes, third night.
Eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational use while 29 states and the District of Columbia have done so for medical use. In 2014, Congress passed The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment which bars the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute people buying or selling medical marijuana in states that have legalized it.
Last Friday, that amendment would have expired leaving AG Sessions free to prosecute except that Congress renewed it even over objections from Sessions. However,
”Ames Grawert of the Brennan Center for Justice told Salon, 'Every time, there’s sort of a dance around whether it will actually get cut this time or not."
“It’s reasonable to be at least 'a little concerned,' Grawert said, that Sessions' pressure will eventually convince congressional Republicans to dump the amendment.
In response to that, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, and a bipartisan group of 24 other lawmakers earlier this year introduced a new piece of legislation, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017, which would prevent the federal government from prosecuting any marijuana users, growers or distributors who are in compliance with state laws.
With all the real troubles in our country you would think the attorney general would have better things to do than chase down people whose health benefits from cannabis along with a business that brings in billions of dollars in taxes to states where the drug has been legalized. I sure don't want to lose my sleep remedy now that I've found it and I'm pretty sure millions of other elders feel the same way about the reasons they use marijuana.
You might want to let your representatives in Washington, D.C. know where you stand on this issue – even if you don't use marijuana. You can find their contact information here.