Medical Marijuana: A Responsibility Worth the Hassle

A load of Medical Marijuana

Anthony Souffle

A load of Medical Marijuana

Tom Ackerman, Opinion Editor

At a glance, the growing list of states legalizing medical marijuana seems preposterous. America is slowly making a drug legal, even if only for medical reasons. If someone from the 1950s were to see this such a changed America, they might just have a panic attack.

In Illinois, as of January 1, 2014, medical marijuana will be legalized; the bill was passed on August 4. According to USA Today, Illinois will be the twentieth state to do so.

I admit, I was skeptical about the idea of legalizing marijuana at first. But after looking into the specifics, the idea makes sense — if the medical marijuana bill in Illinois is carried out as planned: “Only seriously ill patients who have a longstanding relationship with a doctor will be able to apply for a state ID card,” said the Daily Herald last month.

The bill is not proposing that people can go into some shady shop where you show up with a “medical excuse.” Those prescribing the marijuana are the professionals that we see whenever we get sick — people we trust. In fact, according to the Daily Herald, in order to receive the cannabis, one must have an existing relationship with their doctor. This is a legitimate way of compromising a controversial subject — with the trustworthy help of our own doctors.

According to The Huffington Post last month, the law was set in order to provide ease to many illnesses, such as cancer, HIV, and multiple sclerosis. The drug can help with stress, anxiety, and even pain. In fact, “Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill while joined by Jim Champion, a military veteran who suffers from multiple sclerosis,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

However, what worries me is trusting anyone, no matter how trusted, with cannabis. The Daily Herald continued to say that “patients will be limited to 2.5 ounces every two weeks. No one under 18 years old will be eligible.” That being said, if officials are strict in their regulations, the bill has the potential to be successful, as it can help people with certain illnesses. It ultimately relies on the integrity of both the doctors and the patients.

But such a trust is necessary with any hazard in our society, even the most minor. Just because things can harm people, it doesn’t mean the government should have the power to take that responsibility away from people.  Buying a weapon, getting medicine from Walgreens, or even getting an axe from the hardware store could be considered hazardous to the public’s health and well being. Yet, just like marijuana, they can all be managed with the proper precautions.

As of now, all we can do is hope that the new law will remain in control. I don’t know about you, but I’m confident about the changes being made. Again, it’s purely based on the ethical standards of medical professionals. It will take the willingness and integrity of both the patient and the doctor for any substance to be prescribed. Though, if the law does become out of control for any reason, the state can obviously make marijuana illegal again. It’s an experiment for all states, and to me, Illinois is on a practical road to making a difference for those who need help.

Photo Credit: MCT Campus