By Allison Stein

The 1930’s “Reefer Madness” propaganda that expunged cannabis from medical and pharmacology books could easily be compared to the burning of the ancient library of Alexandria. Cannabis prohibition has not only been an impediment to our quality of life, but also has set us back medically for far longer than prohibition has been in existence.

For approximately the last eighty years, we have been deprived of our right to the safest medicine on the planet.  Cultures world-wide dating back to the beginning of civilization, have used cannabis and hemp as medicine and a comprehensive list of other uses. Think of where we would be without this arbitrary prohibition of this plant. Instead of doctors, dentists and hospital emergency care prescribing opiates, they could have been prescribing cannabis. The opiate crisis might not exist in its present levels, had cannabis been the go-to for pain in the last eighty years.

Parents of children with cancer wouldn’t have had to risk the black market to provide relief and comfort for their suffering children or watch their torment from mainstream medical treatment. Those that suffer from anxiety and PTSD wouldn’t have to take meds that have unfortunate side effects, and then take more meds to counteract those side effects. A simple plant, cannabis, could be bringing solace to countless people. Surely, we may all know someone that suffered needlessly. Maybe even yourself. Think of all the lives that could have been prolonged, and pain that could have been eased, had this prohibition of cannabis never taken place.

I know I am preaching to the choir. If you are reading this, chances are that your life has been affected by cannabis in a positive way. Every one of us is or could be a survivor.  We have beaten cancer, opiate drug dependency, anxiety and the crippling panic attacks of PTSD, all with the help of a single plant.  It is unfortunate that until the laws are permanently changed regarding the use of cannabis, we all continue to face the stigma associated with its use.  Everything we do is under scrutiny. How we act in line outside at a dispensary, conduct ourselves at events such as Women Grow and Errl Cup, to a normal doctor’s appoint.

It is awful to state that “Reefer Madness” still exists and plagues our justice system and our politics.  We are all patients first. Our right to safe medicine is constantly in jeopardy and we should defend our choice at every opportunity. To quote the late Bill Hicks regarding cannabis, “It grows naturally on our planet services a thousand different functions, all of them positive.  To make marijuana against the law is like saying that God made a mistake.”

Allison Stein is a medical patient in the Mesa area who is training to write for the Arizona Cannabis Monthly.