California has long been a pioneer of medical marijuana advocacy. It was, in fact, the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215. This Act did suffer from technical defects. According to the Los Angeles Times, Senator Diane Feinstein famously said, “you’ll be able to drive a truckload of marijuana through the holes in it. Nonetheless, it demonstrated that Californians take seriously a person’s right to access the medical benefits of marijuana. That sentiment has been a part of California culture ever since, and it was instrumental in securing the passage of Proposition 64. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act legalized the use of recreational marijuana in California as of November 9, 2016.
While the recreational use of marijuana remains controversial, medical marijuana is finding advocates from many unexpected sources. According to Military.com, the American Legion is now making movements to support the medical use of marijuana. The Legion – an association of military veterans which has generally held conservative policies throughout its long history – has recognized the desperate needs of its new members returning from the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has also recognized the tragedy of veterans who are prescribed vast amounts of medication instead of accessing the simple benefits of organic marijuana. Many of these veterans develop addictions to opioid painkillers, and this epidemic has been exacerbated by the mental health problems faced by returning veterans. The shifting policy of such a conservative organization demonstrates the scale of the epidemic facing both the mental and physical health of our country’s veterans.
Now, another unlikely source of historically conservative voters is also coming around to the medical benefits of marijuana.
Senior Citizens’ Need for Pain Relief
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that older users of marijuana are relatively limited across the nation, but that there has been a significant increase. Assisted living facilities in many states are implementing policies to allow residents to keep and use medical marijuana on the premises. Clubs for the support and education of medical marijuana users are also springing up at many such facilities. The list of diseases and ailments commonly faced by seniors is far from short. Marijuana has been anecdotally effective at treating the symptoms of many such illnesses, including: arthritis, nerve pain and neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, and the side effects of chemotherapy.
The conflicting viewpoints on how to medically treat an aging population has sparred intriguing policy debates. One professor of health policy at the University of Iowa succinctly summed up the debate in a paper entitled “The Increasing Use of Cannabis Among Older Americans: A Public Health Crisis or a Viable Policy Alternative?” While the policy debates will continue, what is certain is that Californians have long held the right to access marijuana for medicinal purposes. Now, with recreational use laws in place, cannabis rights are expanding. An experienced cannabis lawyer can protect your legal rights with respect to marijuana use.
The Los Angeles Cannabis Law Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937- 2050.
More seniors turning to marijuana for relief from aches and pains, February 20, 2017, by Winnie Hu, The San Diego Union-Tribune
More Blog Entries:
Medical Marijuana May be Best Solution to Painkiller Epidemic, September 3, 2016, Cannabis Law Group