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Is Cannabis Medicine? "Just Say No" Says 6 US States

Cannabis being hung to dry after Harvesting // Photo by James Hanson

When Bob Dylan said, “Everybody must get stoned,” who knew it would lead to a national holiday, after a few kids at San Rafael High School started meeting after school at 4:20 p.m. to get stoned? Jimmy Carter also said, “Everybody must get stoned,” when he was on the 1980 campaign trail, though it was channeled through Dan Ackroyd’s dead on impersonation of that great president.

When I first “got stoned” while on a college visit to Washington & Lee University in 1973, I had a feeling of finally getting something I never knew my body and nervous system had been needing. Over the next 30 years, I would come to learn that different strains brought on different reactions. Most were very positive, but some were definitely not what I wanted.

A few puffs of an Indica bud has brought a sense of mental and physiological calm conducive to a productive work day, and lucid performance of intellectual and creative tasks. On one or two occasions, I tried too strong of a Sativa which can result in paranoia, nausea, vertigo, and passing out.

This unique and highly variant plant can elicit a broad spectrum of reactions, on a much more complex scale than just “Indica relaxes you and Sativa stimulates you.” Today, we have 100’s of designer hybrids, and pure strains, with distinct highs and physiological benefits.

Despite years of Racist agendas to criminalize marijuana & those who use it, today all but 6 states have decriminalized it. That's progress.

Regardless of the benefits, Cannabis has ALWAYS been a political issue, ever since the evil FBI Narcotics Director under J. Edgar Hoover, Harry Anslinger, criminalized the herb. He even went so far as to criminalize great people associated with it such as Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, whom he harassed to death.

He believed that black men on reefer were a threat to white women. A Timeline bio notes that Anslinger, “conflated drug use, race, and music to criminalize non-whiteness and create a prison-industrial complex.”

Ronald & Nancy Reagan resumed Anslinger's unholy crusade during Raegan's presidency, destroying the “culture of trust” cultivated in American society around cannabis throughout the 1970’s. Their “Just Say No” (& Rat on Your Neighbors & Parents) campaign was more about sowing that distrust among friends and neighbors, under threat of his draconian “civil forfeiture” laws.

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The Raegan's took Anslinger’s racist agenda and gave it frightening government power. Sharing a joint with a new neighbor was a great way to break the ice and form a friendship, until that meant risking everything you owned being seized by government agents, and having all of those assets used to further militarize local police departments. Though only six states still have no provision for medicinal or non-criminal cannabis sanctions, the federal government has clung to Anslinger’s racist, draconian legacy as long as possible.

Despite Racist and political campaigns against it, is cannabis medicine?

Yes. For anxiety, neuro-muscular damage, appetite stimulation, managing chemo-radiation and more . . . much, much more. There are all kinds of delivery systems these days, including highly concentrated liquids, but I'm old fashioned.

I roll big joints!

When I enrolled in graduate school at the University of Michigan, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had moved to the ONLY municipality in America that had decriminalized cannabis. Ann Arbor was the first in America to decriminalize cannabis in 1972, when the city council passed a statutory ordinance to enact a $5 fine for simple possession. This was strengthened by a ballot initiative passed in 1974 to place the code violation into the City Charter, and prevent the issue from becoming a political third rail for future politicians.

That was prescient, as some city council Republicans promoted a ballot initiative in April 1983 to remove the $5 fine from the city charter. It was indeed a dark time in America with the hysteria of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign. Somehow or another, I got “elected” to be the point man of the Campaign to Save the $5 Fine. The result was a quixotic, but successful campaign to preserve the $5 fine.

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So as we comfortably and openly observe 420 Day in all but six American states, we can enjoy Louis Armstrong’s great trumpet solo on “Muggles” (a name for joints in the Roaring 20’s), Ella Fitzgerald’s “When I Get Low I Get High,” with Duke Ellington, and “It’s So Nice To Be Stoned” by White Witch, without fear of a police raid in all but 6 American states.

That’s progress, folks.

Scott Prostermann