Weed. Even the word sends shivers up the spine of most UK politicians. Even though it is more accepted in the states, we still fall way behind when it comes to legality and decriminalization, both in a medicinal and recreational sense.
The problem is not the understanding we have of the medicinal properties of the plant, nor a lack of information about the usefulness of hemp and how it can be used for pretty much everything, from paper to building materials to clothes. No, it really just seems to be a lack of tolerance and a general ignorance about marijuana. And to be honest, it really pisses me off...
Now don't get me wrong, weed may be an answer to a lot of problems, and a cure or preventive treatment to many illnesses, aliments and diseases, but I'm not saying it's the only solution. I'm not trying to tell you that every time life gets you down, the right thing to do is sit back and light up a fat one. Of course that's not what I'm saying. And I'm not one those ignorant people on the pro-cannabis side of the debate, who the minute you mention even a slight negative will either, at best, completely ignore you or, at worst, become aggressive or hostile. No, that's just as stupid and pointless as the whole "ban it outright" approach. Hostility and aggression will get us nowhere in this constant battle against stigma and naivety. If anything, those kind of reactions will only push us further into the ranks of outcasts and social misfits. What we need to do is be assertive and reasonable- look at the facts and statistics, but also at very individual case studies and personal factors, rather than looking at a spreadsheet and making everything black and white. Weed is a natural medicine, with far less nasty side effects than many prescription meds, and in my humble opinion, it is something to be embraced, not something to be scared of or intimidated by. The way for us to advance in this political stalemate is to be proactive, to sign petitions, to make more useful information freely and widely available, to inform others of both the benefits and negatives of cannabis use and just to generally be a valuable member of your community, one who gets things done, who lobbies to end the prohibition and informs others, not just someone who sits at home all day and furthers the stoner stereotype and all of the negative connotations surrounding it by just eating crisps and hitting bongs all day while watching mind numbing television.
So get out there and spread the word, spread the information and most of all spread the love. I know that's cheesy as hell, but fuck it, the drugs war isn't working and it's time for change...
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Cannabis: A Modern Day Prohibition