Grass roots? The campaign against medical marijuana includes some strange and sinister bedfellows.
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In this case, I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest that the Obama administration — like Congress, like state legislatures the nation over, like every other administration in living memory — is acting under the influence of lobbyists’ pecuniary blandishments.
Who would lobby with such vigor against medical marijuana? This question answers itself as soon as you consider whose business interests would be most impaired should this remedy become more popular.
I hesitate to use the word “panacea,” and yet....
Unlike the products of pharmaceutical corporations, marijuana has existed throughout our evolution, and, like many other naturally occurring herbs, it has been used for hundreds of millennia — if not longer — as a remedy for assorted disorders. Our brains reflect this fact: They contain dedicated receptors for cannabinoids, as they do not for most other compounds used to treat disease.
And as medicine studies cannabis’ effects, it becomes ever more apparent that its anti-inflammatory properties do indeed offer a wide range of potential benefits. It can be used to treat conditions ranging from nausea to depression, from insomnia to glaucoma. It also appears to yield preventative, and possibly even curative, effects on cancer. And perhaps most surprising is its application in treating autism: A Google search for the phrase “mother uses medical marijuana to treat son's autism” returns more than 2.6 million results from sites ranging across the ideological spectrum from BuzzFeed to Fox News.
Any natural product successfully used to treat so wide a range of conditions represents an intolerable threat to the profitability of a pharmaceutical industry accustomed to holding monopoly control over medical treatment. We should not, therefore, be surprised to find that industry underwriting intensive campaigns to keep cannabis illegal and unavailable.
But what is profitable and what is right are often two very different things. As a matter of enlightened self-interest, we need to bear this in mind, and raise a deafening outcry when lobbyists’ cajolery trumps reason and compassion.