Weighing in on weed

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. 


2 thoughts on “Weighing in on weed

  1. Mark says:

    Good read and I am very sorry about the loss of your friend. I was reading our school paper in the library the other night and was thinking about this exact thing. Three people have had their lives radically changed for the worse, if not ruined by this incident, and in the end absolutely nothing was solved by it. I can still go out and get cannabis just as easy as before, so what was even accomplished? Also, why is it our post office manager thought he had any right at all to snoop through someones mail? Suspicion or not. What if he had opened the box to find non-illegal items being shipped?

    Alcohol and tobacco, which are both responsible for thousands and thousands of deaths every year in this country, are fully legal substances obtainable by anyone. Yet a plant like cannabis is considered a schedule I substance, which according to our government means it has high potential for abuse and zero medicinal value despite all of the scientific studies showing otherwise. There have been zero deaths directly related to cannabis over the course of 10,000 years. We even have cocaine scheduled below cannabis and our government still believes cocaine has medicinal value? Seriously? I’d like to know what interests the government has behind their motives. Anybody remember last year on the “wethepeople” website when 3/5 of the top signed petitions were regarding cannabis legality and the Obama administration refused to even address them?! What is it that we are missing here?!

    I’m a little more liberal in my views because I believe cannabis should be fully legal to any adults 21 and older. What’s the difference between going home and enjoying a glass of fine wine or your favorite beer compared to enjoying your favorite strain of cannabis? Not one thing. It’s about personal freedom and if the government can’t give us that basic right then they should at least acknowledge it’s utility as a medicine for some patients. I find it funny that the government claims there is zero medicinal value to cannabis yet they approve the sale of synthetic THC pills for medical use (Marinol). Which by the way, patients claim is way too powerful and since it is a synthetic derivative it has negative side effects not found in the natural form. Remember the crazy synthetic marijuana craze last year?

    Also, you mentioned cannabis being a “weed”. Do a search on how many millions of our tax dollars per year are spent on removing wild cannabis plants from our national parks. Purely wild growth with no one harvesting it. It’ll make you sick to your stomach.

    • Brandon says:

      The motives behind why this hasn’t been reformed on the federal level vary. Look up the involvements of the interests in the private prison industries… They have corporate influence in decision making too..

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