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New Zealand is Jumping on the Medical Marijuana Bandwagon


Sometimes I feel like a broken record. I realize it’s the nature of being a pundit in any field; some things you have to repeat…a lot. Things that long ago struck you as almost self-explanatory still need to be explained to those who are new to seeing things from your perspective.

For me, medical marijuana is one of those things. I have to remind myself that there are still people out there who think there are valid reasons to deny a sick person the choice of using cannabis. In fact, there are some who would deny that choice to someone with a terminal diagnosis.

I was reminded of this while reading a story about medical marijuana being legalized in New Zealand. “The legislation will also allow terminally ill patients to begin smoking illegal pot immediately without facing the possibility of prosecution,” reads the second paragraph.

I had to read the sentence a few times. It means that before the legislation, terminally ill people who smoked a joint for relief were considered criminals – something true of hundreds of millions of people all across the world. It’s still true for many even in the United States, where activists have been successfully getting medical marijuana laws passed for over 20 years.

Some of have gotten so used to this odd fact of history that we sometimes don’t give it the thought it may deserve. The fact that human beings created laws that criminalized dying people if they ingested a natural plant defies all logic and lacks a shred of compassion toward animals we should be able to relate to: other humans.

Now, laws must be passed to allow dying humans the choice of using cannabis. As if the cannabis plant is something a terminally ill patient needs to be protected from, for their own good.

So here I am, making the same point I’ve literally made 1,000 times before. Is that more a commentary on human kind’s inability to learn to accept change, or on just how vast the amount of people we can communicate with is now? Like many things, it’s a combination. Some people I reach will never change their mind, and many people I will never reach.

Even with all the other people who do what I do every day, it’s just not enough to affect change in anything resembling a timely manner. But in case you think me cynical, remember this: I’m still here doing it. If I thought it was hopeless, I wouldn’t even bother. Progress in the cannabis law reform movement is evident and important. But, we must never forget just how far we still have to go to eliminate the sheer abnormality that surrounds the issue.