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. Continue reading