As most of you know, two ETSU basketball players were recently arrested on charges ranging from simple possession to intent to resale.
Did Cooley and Dubose get charged with breaking a law? Yes.
Do I personally want them to be punished for what they did? No.
The deal is, they were arrested for a law that even government officials on the highest levels have said needs to change and more would surely agree with if votes were not riding on their opinion. This column isn’t about Cooley and Dubose but about the plant they were found in possession of.
The plant that caused all this is either decriminalized or all together legal in 23 American states. The plant that caused all these problems is one of the largest cash crops in the world. It is one of the most resilient plants on the earth. It can grow anywhere. At one point in time in American history, the plant was used for almost every part of life, from textiles to fuel to medicine.
I have witnessed first hand the medicinal value of marijuana.
A few years ago I had a very good friend diagnosed with a form a juvenile cancer. He was in his late 20’s at the time, and the doctors said it had probably been there since he was about 12 or 13. The tumor was so large after chemo and radiation that in order to remove it my friend would have lost almost half his rib cage.
We worked together and played together. I watched the pain and suffering that comes with the disease. At the time his brother, two sisters, father, and girlfriend all worked in the restaurant with us.
Not only did I witness my friend slowly die, but I saw his family have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. The only thing that eased his pain was smoking. The happiest I ever saw him and his father was one night we were all hanging out and they were sitting on the porch smoking a joint: a son who knew his days were numbered and a father who didn’t want to believe it.
The side effects of chemo-therapy and radiation ravage the human body. Nausea and insomnia were two of Damon’s biggest problems. Smoking a little marijuana solved those problems.
A plant that grows anywhere (it’s called “weed” for a reason) solved medical issues that pharmaceutical companies have spent years of research and millions of dollars trying to solve. Yet that plant is under prohibition.
This is not me saying that marijuana should be legal all over the United States. I am not sure I want that. This is me saying that it’s time to take the option seriously though. In the recent election Colorado and Washington both legalized marijuana. If two of your states have decided that its no longer a threat shouldn’t there be some in depth investigation into this.
In no way am I saying that if marijuana were legal that my friend would still be alive today. He would have been more comfortable though while he was alive. Sure, he bought and smoked marijuana illegally to ease his pain but just imagine if there was a CVS or Rite-Aid on the corner that sold different strengths or certain strands developed to combat nausea or insomnia.
Cooley and Dubose got in trouble and jeopardized their futures because of the same plant that helped my friend, whose body was literally shutting down on him, enjoy his last few months on earth with people he loved. We all laughed and cried together and spent that time soaking up as much of each other as possible.
And honestly, I’m not sure that would have been possible without marijuana.
Editor’s note: Neither Cooley nor Dubose have been convicted of a crime.