It me want to hide under a rock.” Barbara

It is the first month of California’s legalization of Marijuana and the majority of the state couldn’t’ be more thrilled. People of all ages, race and gender have waited in long lines going down the sidewalk to get their hands on their first ounces of marijuana. From wanting a remedy to relieve their back pains to just wanting to have a chill night, marijuana is showing to be a positive addition to the legal system.On January 1st, I spoke with many of the customers in line at a dispensary in Santa Cruz.  Barbara, a sixty-two year old woman who never used cannabis recreationally, was in the front of the line eagerly waiting for the doors to open. She said marijuana always made her paranoid, and, “I just didn’t know there were different types of weed. The only one I knew was the one that made me want to hide under a rock.” Barbara only smoked marijuana three or four times in her life. But once her children introduced her to Sativa and Cannabidiol (CBD, a cannabis component in which the person doesn’t feel “high”), she was onboard. She felt weird about buying a weed card, though, because, “it was just as much work to fib about your health problems to be certified for marijuana. It is just as much work as buying from a dealer, I reckon.” Now, she can walk out of a dispensary without the guilt of thinking she is doing something “juvenile.” Citizens can prosper when they approve marijuana as a remedy instead of a stigma. Studies have shown individuals who have an opioid dependency are tapering of the painkiller by taking weed instead. Natalie Lopez, a 46-year-old female from San Francisco, CA, was dependent on opioids. She was in a scooter accident in 2004 and relied on painkillers to obliterate the pain. Evidently, she became addicted to the powerful painkiller and would end up using 22 OxyContin pills a day. She was desperate to quit, but she didn’t know how, no was it safe for her to go cold turkey. A doctor recommended medical marijuana as a temporary solution. Slowly, but surely she was able to taper off the painkillers. She rarely smokes weed now, but she no longer is dependent on opioids.  In addition, people with chronic epilepsy, plagued with gran-mal seizures on a daily basis, are finding solutions in CBD. Charlotte’s Web is a CBD produced by the Stanley Brothers in Colorado. This particular CBD is named after five-year old Charlotte Figi, who suffered grand-mal seizures from Dravet Syndrome. After her first dosage, her condition improved significantly and her recovery inspired others to use CBD for their epilepsy. In a medical point of view, legal marijuana helps a vast population suffering anything from seizures to back pain to anxiety. Removing the stigma of “illegal drug” removes the skepticism of taking marijuana. If marijuana were legalized on a federal level, the marijuana market would boost. States like Colorado and Washington are experiencing fiscal success. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, Washington has raised $220 million in industry tax revenue in recent years. In addition, Alaska’s crime rate has decreased. There has been no difference in traffic fatality then when marijuana was illegal. And, of course, a lot less people are being arrested for possession.   In a new world where marijuana is legal and having positive affects on society, Attorney General Jeff Sessions leading a war on marijuana. As California is just starting to stand in line at dispensaries for legalized weed, this may be a short-lived existence. Just four days ago, Sessions rescinded the Obama Administration’s policy to not interfere with states with legal marijuana laws. This is not surprising since Sessions has once said, “Good people do not smoke marijuana.” With 61% of the American population in support of legal pot, the push back of Session’s manifestation is ominous. Politicians from both Democratic and Republican parties are in support of legalized pot. Republican Representative Matt Gaetz went so far to say, “Prosecute Hillary Clinton, not medical marijuana businesses and patients!” Far-right conservatives who are in support of legalized weed show how much of an uphill battle Sessions has ahead of him. Overall, federal legalization of marijuana is likely to occur, but not soon. The nation is presently divided- both Congress and House are dominated by far-right politicians. This may imitate pot enthusiasts, but it’s just the swing of a pendulum. As Sessions attempts to rescind laws of legal dispensaries that President Barack Obama permitted, the public is pushing back to get their needs met. This is America; the laws are constantly being rewritten and the same will be with the federalization of legal marijuana.

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