News Of The Herb Week 4: Utah And Arizona [HIGH TIMES]

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GURU editor-in-chief Abdullah “T. Kid” Saeed write a weekly column for HighTimes.com, offering commentary on current cannabis-related news stories. 

After so many decades of stubborn wrongheadedness on the topic, America’s medical community is finally subject to reason when it comes to medical cannabis for kids. Three leading pediatric neurologistsin Utah put forth a letter stating that cannabidiol-based oils can successfully treat symptoms and significantly improve the quality of life for children suffering from chronic epilepsy. The pharmaceutical cocktails currently used to treat this condition were only partially as effective and caused various debilitating side effects. The letter comes as a massive relief to parents raising severely epileptic children in Utah, about 10,000 of them, who previously had to seek the cannabis-based treatments across the border in Colorado. Even though the drug is non-psychoactive and non-habit forming, it is still federally illegal to bring any cannabis product over state lines.

Once again, we see a careful case having to be made for something that should be so obvious. We may blame it on federal law or medical safeguards, but really the only thing that has kept the right medicine from the kids who need it is public discomfort. Cannabis has been stigmatized over the decades since its versatility and usefulness first threatened other industries, and though the tide is changing quickly, it’s incredible to find how delicate we need to be when broaching a topic that could save children’s lives all because some people think that it’s a drug. It’s amazing how many rights the public can infringe upon just because they find things to be “weird.” Just ask gay people who have been campaigning for the right to marry for ages just because overly religious morons think guy-on-guy is icky. In fact, Utah may be getting progressive on medical cannabis, but they are a bit more draconian when it comes to homosexuality. The state has expressed that it opposes gay marriage because it does “not promote the state’s interests in responsible procreation.” That’s interesting, because by its current laws, self-rightous conservative zealots are allowed to multiply all they want. How’s that for “responsible procreation?”

Regardless, Utah deserves at least some props for thinking outside the box on cannabis. At least they’re displaying some potential for malleability based on reason, unlike some other states, that will take any opportunity to screw people over… OK, there’s an 85% chance you are now thinking about Arizona. Our most xenophobic state has taken up discriminating against medical marijuana patients as well, cracking down on the physicians doling out medical certifications. Then again, Arizona being a dick about something is like Florida having a lot of weird crime or Texas having great barbecue. It’s just a part of the state’s personality. That’s why this next report wasn’t all too surprising.

Back in 2008, Arizona employed two border patrol guards who were just now sentenced to prison for grossly mistreating three alleged smugglers. The guards repeatedly asked the detainees if they liked marijuana and aggressively force-fed them the plants they were accused of smuggling. They also made the prisoners remove some of their clothes, which the guards burned along with the prisoners’ food. While force-feeding someone marijuana isn’t going to have effects nearly as damaging as an illicit drug would, it’s pretty confounding that these guards would treat it as such. It’s such instances that show us how arbitrary the illegality of cannabis feels today. Imagine a world where coffee was labeled an illegal narcotic, and getting caught bringing a few beans over the border would garner the punishment of being force-fed a mug of your own poison… OK, that would not be as bad. Still, though. Not cool, Arizona.

But overall… WE’RE WINNING!

T. Kid is the author of VICE’s Weediquette column and editor-in-chief of GURU for Karmaloop. Follow him on Twitter: @ImYourKid

Schmoke weed, everyday. 

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