Thank you Lisa! Hopefully she will contribute a couple of more blogs, I am happy to have them.
We all want marijuana decriminalized. There are at least four factions of the marijuana culture with many more sub factions. There is medicinal, recreational, spiritual worship and industrial. The laws banning marijuana use care not about the differences between these four factions. Why then do we break apart into factions and how will we overcome these laws against marijuana?
The only faction to gain the compassion of society and the respectability to attain a change in the laws is the medicinal group. Medical needs of the patients laid the foundation for their striving bravery in risking their own freedom and comfort. It is the medicinal user group that was able to overcome the societal disconnect between the truth about marijuana and the propaganda behind it's prohibition. Why then do medical marijuana patients seem to be so ignored at pro-marijuana rallies?
The pot head. We all know of the recreational user, probably the largest percentage of the entire population of those who use marijuana. The pot heads generally want marijuana to be legalized/decriminalized, but society had only a cold shoulder for the recreational user. No claim of freedom for recreational use could overcome the laws against marijuana or society's intolerance of marijuana. Yet, at every marijuana rally, there are hundreds (or thousands, depending on the size of the rally) of recreational users. Both recreational users and dealers of marijuana are routinely jailed for possession, intent to distribute and sale of this "dangerous narcotic". Despite the millions of people jailed for such crimes, not even one ever attained the status respected enough to gain the court's change of heart. Recreational use is becoming a collateral right as a result of the medicinal user's plight.
Spiritual worship is a smaller segment of marijuana users. It is generally comprised of Rastas, Hindus and Native Americans. This group of users was dismissed outright when courts heard their cases. Laws were interpreted to mean that religious freedom is limited to the freedom to "believe" what one chooses, but "actions" in furtherance of those beliefs were limited to the bounds of existing laws. Thus, laws against marijuana clearly did not allow for religious freedom of the "action" of utilizing marijuana for worship. They too will attain the right to use this plant for spiritual worship thanks to the struggles of medicinal users finally winning their court battles.
Industrial marijuana (hemp) was outlawed primarily to end any competition with textile companies. The rubber, cotton, timber, oil and other industries rallied against the use of hemp for textiles. They wanted to corner the market. Their processes were more profitable than hemp, yet the use of hemp would have put them out of business because it is a better base material. We can see the effects of this misstep in history. We have land wasted for cotton. We have millions of acres of trees torn down for paper products. We have pollutants in the air and water from refining the hemp substitutes. Finally, because of the loosening of the rope of prohibition, there are states requesting federal approval to create hemp farms for industrial purposes. Again, the loosening of the rope, stems from the medicinal marijuana patients and their utilization of the courts to gain the legal right for all of us.
So let us hold dear our appreciation for the plight of the medicinal marijuana users. It is the suffering of the medicinal patients that paved the way (via court case and precedent) that allows for the possibility of marijuana decriminalization for all of us. It is the societal compassion for the medical marijuana user that finally began to tear down the wall of propaganda that so long stood against marijuana use. Remember this the next time you are at a rally and see the medical marijuana users on the outskirts of the "celebration". Remember that the celebration would not be but for the medicinal users who paved the way for all of us. Remember this and be sure to include them in the celebration because without them there would be nothing to celebrate.