The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that medical use of cannabis, even if prescribed by a doctor, does not preclude the users from being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Despite that, officials were quick to state that such crackdowns would be unlikely. This is one of the reasons why the classification of cannabis should be re-examined.
The Court’s ruling insinuates that cannabis is less effective than other remedies for ailments such as chronic back pain or glaucoma. However, the medication available as treatment for cases in which marijuana would be prescribed is often very addictive and usually bears more side effects than cannabis would.
By the Court’s logic, the use of a plant that readily grows in most climates is not only illegal, its use is discouraged while less effective drugs are deemed proper for use.
This way of thinking is a symptom of a much larger problem. The War on Drugs that was declared during former President Richard Nixon’s presidency has failed miserably. Though billions of dollars have been spent on the campaign against drugs, availability has been largely unaffected. Instead, the War on Drugs has backfired. Many inmates in America’s jails have been convicted of drug crimes under harsh policies that don’t exist in other nations. The result is a prison population that is rivaled by few other countries.
To some college students, the laws concerning cannabis use are a non-issue. While its use is illegal, said students shrug over such concerns. There are many students who know someone who could provide cannabis.
Maybe students are correct in shrugging such concerns off, as studies have shown that other substances that are legally available, such as tobacco and alcohol, have been proven to have far worse effects.
To spend billions on the War on Drugs and have little to show for it is simply wasteful. This also happened during prohibition, but apparently the lessons learned during the era when alcohol was illegal have to be revisisted.
But to issue a statement condemning the use of a relatively harmless substance and then have law officials contradict it makes even less sense. Sadly, as few politicians are willing to appear “soft on drugs,” the absurdity is likely to continue.