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Medical Mary J. Grows in Acceptance

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Medical Mary J. Grows in Acceptance

Max Webster, Reporter

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Idaho Medical Mary J


 In the following months, residents in both Idaho and Utah who suffer from different illnesses may have access to medical marijuana as a form of treatment. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a long-time nemesis to the legalization of marijuana of any kind, issued a statement on Sept 20 in support of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes to relieve pain and suffering, but they are still against Proposition 2, citing arguments about it being a slippery slope that puts children at risk. However, they are willing to work on a compromise, and if a compromise can be reached, a revised proposition will likely pass given the large number of Latter-day Saints living in the region, and Utah will join the other 29 states that have legalized the drug. Idaho may follow suit.

 The inspiration that brought this topic to the courts came from a family from St George, Utah. Eleven-Year-Old Holden Cromar was born with a very rare and severe case of epilepsy, a disorder that disturbs nerve cell activity in the brain that ultimately results in seizures. With the severity of his epilepsy, Holden would have around 100 seizures a day. After years of therapy and different medications, Holden’s family had narrowed treatment down to the final options: remove part of his brain in an attempt to cure him or try medical marijuana. The Cromer family, destined and eager to find a cure, decided to take a trip to a doctor in Colorado to see if medical marijuana could help.

 The results were astounding. Holden’s father explained, “He was having less than half of what he was having before, and then cognitively it was like a reawakening of his mind.” The way that the marijuana affected his brain allows him to live life a little bit easier. The family is now currently waiting for their home to sell so they can move to Colorado and continue Holden’s treatment practices. The family hopes their story will push states like Idaho and Utah to legalize medical marijuana. Today, their story has inspired thousands and has brought this topic to discussion. Here are a few of of the main arguments:

 First, there are many pros to legalizing medical marijuana. The first thing to note is that it has the popular vote amung US citizens. Business Insider estimates that around 84 percent of the population believes that medical marijuana should be legal.

 Another thing that has been found is that marijuana has an unreal capability to reduce or even halt muscle spasms. This can also act as a way to treat chronic pain due to marijuana’s numbing behaviors, or more specifically, the behaviors of THC, the chemical that is responsible for the brain high. (CBD, another chemical in cannabis, usually gives a high without affecting the brain.)

 In addition, a great point to note about marijuana is that it does not affect the respiratory system in ways like tobacco. A 20-year study showed marijuana does virtually nothing to the lungs, unlike the heavily lung damaging tobacco that blackens the lungs and creates scar tissue.

 Another illness cannabis is used for is to treat glaucoma, a disease that puts pressure in the eye and eventually leads to blindness. Cannabis, once used, relieves stress on the eyes and reduces the pressure in some cases to none. Also, cannabis has its ways of helping with cancer.

 In 2007, the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco recorded that marijuana can shrink tumors, slow the spreading process, and even temporarily halt the spreading process. The list goes on and on: Alzheimer’s, bowel diseases, Parkinson’s, concussions, PTSD–marijuana helps it all.

 However, that isn’t to say using marijuana is completely safe. It’s not. Like alcohol, marijuana affects the brain’s ability to think and process; a flaw that can turn for the worst. Driving while under the influence of weed can cause many issues such as driving off the road, not being able to think fast enough in fast situations, and other serious issues.

 One issue that arises comes from smoking at an early age. Northwestern Journal noted that upon looking at MRIs patients who had started smoking early had an oddly shaped hippocampus or the segment of the brain that is responsible for short and long term memory.

 Another issue with the legalization of medical cannabis is that it does distort the mind and body alike. When under the influence of any drug or narcotic, the mind does not think properly and efficiently, and weed is no different. If cannabis is legalized, there statistically will be a great increase of injuries and deaths related to the use of marijuana both on and off the road.

 Finally, weed does not guarantee a perfect and happy high that many young people assume. At the end of the day, weed changes the process of how the mind thinks. When a person gets high, he or she loses control of what they think about, a fault that can cause what is known as a “bad trip”. These bad trips are referred to when the high does not actually help with stress and anxiety but rather makes it worse. This can lead to severe and uncontrollable stress and anxiety levels that could potentially lead to self harm, harm of others, and other unforeseen consequences.

 With all of the information on the table, it is up to the voters to decide what the future of Idaho and Utah have in store regarding marijuana. One major group that has a large stake in the issue is the Utah Medical Association (UMA). The UMA is currently against the legalization due to there not being enough total information as well as the possible threat of children getting baited into cannabis by frauds who may abuse the situation for profit. UMA recently stated, “The initiative language also allows marijuana use by anyone, even children, for whom there is no safe level of THC (the main active ingredient in most marijuana products) for their developing brains. In fact, there are few real restrictions or liability for either possession, distribution or manufacture of marijuana  products by anyone. It also sets up the state for an influx of less than honorable practitioners who will be happy to “recommend” marijuana to anyone who asks, regardless of need, so long as they get their cut of the action”.

 Another group that has a large sway in the issue is the LDS Church of Jesus Christ. Earlier this year in August, the Salt Lake Tribune interviewed Elder Jack N. Gerard. Gerard explained the church’s position on the topic with the following: “The church does not object to the medical use of marijuana if doctor prescribed in dosage form through a licensed pharmacy.” However, they have stated that there must be restrictions on the drug, these restrictions being that cannabis must remain a controlled substance available by prescription and only for those who absolutely need it. There would have to be no allowance for growing at home and provisions against pot being used in brownies and gummy bears in order for the church to back the initiative.

 Other arguments have been noted on the Idaho Initiatives page on Idaho’s government website. This page has all of the noted restrictions and propositions regarding legalizing marijuana, including biases about the topic, both supporting and arguing the potential legalization, and consequences that may occur.

 At the end of the leaf there are still many meetings and discussions to be had in both Idaho and Utah. Every day more research is forming for both sides of the issue, ever so prolonging a final answer. Will we?  

“They legalized alcohol, they legalized tobacco. What’s it gonna hurt to legalize this medicinal, medical marijuana that’s used for purposes of cataracts?” – Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus, Jr.


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Medical Mary J. Grows in Acceptance