Let’s clear up some myths about cannabis

Ron Moore Published:

Aside from the American family, the one big loser in the prohibition of cannabis has been the truth. The fact that cannabis is illegal and the ramifications of even admitting you smoke it could jeopardize your employment, your standing in the community, your entire life. All of this, while the agents of misinformation spread their lies.

As a young airman I smoked cannabis while serving in Thailand. I found it to be something other than what I had thought it would be but nothing as harmful as I had heard. Back then there was so much misinformation. Over the years I have smoked off and on but it wasn’t until I met Gatewood Galbraith back in 1990 that I realized just how much I had been lied to.

The problem over those years is no one could speak up. No one dared to, except a handful of activists and over a period of 18 months things changed. The genie was out of the bottle and all the establishment could say is, “It’s a gateway drug.” By then that argument didn’t hold water and since then no one has been able to come up with a good enough reason for the prohibition. It’s as if they have been afraid of the debate, running from it from the president on down.

All we ask is for an honest and open debate. We have heard the concerns of those on the other side and we have answers for you. We want to take this past the Cheech and Chong persona of the cannabis culture. Our evidence is compelling if we can ever get a fair and impartial hearing unlike I have seen lately even in this very paper. The stereotypical “stoner” portrayed in a cartoon with misinformation and innuendo masked as an editorial. This does nothing to further the debate.

To our law enforcement community, whose concerns are that they would have a hard time identifying the medicinal hemp from industrial, I would first of all like to assure them that once the “Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act” is signed into law there will be no need for you to worry as all cannabis will be legal. There would be no reason for you to have to make that call. Cannabis, however, is very easy to detect one from the other. Industrial hemp is grown in dense crops while medicinal is grown with the plant isolated from the male to ensure a high THC content.

The Family Foundation has voiced its displeasure but from their responses I can tell they just need to be educated as well. Cannabis is being proven to be a medicine all across the world. Countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Israel all have done remarkable research. Portugal has gone as far as legalizing and regulating all drugs, treating them on an individual basis, with great success. The folks at the Family Foundation question the motives of Sen. Clark and commented they feared it would be used as relief for jet lag and stress. What I would ask is what do doctors prescribe now for these ailments and if cannabis is deemed a viable cure then why shouldn’t my doctor prescribe it? If the war on drugs has been so good for the family then why haven’t the figures of abuse changed since Nixon first declared a war on cannabis?

The fact is we need to take another course. We need to take a long hard look at this war on cannabis; this war on the American family, this war that has torn this country apart. We can no longer afford to chase down every grower in Kentucky; cannabis will never be eradicated. We imprison more of our citizens than any other country on earth and we call this the land of the free. The drug war is financing our current industrial prison complex. Nothing good has come from it.

“Education Summer” is designed to educate Kentucky about the truth concerning cannabis hemp, the plant that our state depended on for so many years. We are getting the conversation started with volunteers all over the state. The facts are there. Before you judge someone unjustly, do the research and find out for yourself.

Ron Moore is director of the Kentucky Veterans for Medical Marijuana.

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  • I would like to thank the State Journal for opening the doors to a open minded debate. That's all we ask.

  • Great job!

  • May I offer a slight rebuttal here? Money is part of the reason that marijuana is illegal, but it is much more complicated than that. The whole Drug War is hardly a money making proposition, as the cost of investigations, apprehension, taking them to court and incarceration is as the song says, a hole in (Big) Daddy's arm where all of the money goes. The fines don't even come close to paying for all of this, nor are they intended to. That is why we pay taxes. The money issue comes into play in part because the local police use marijuana busts to help qualify for federal grants. Then there are the private prison industry that make the most money when all of their beds are full, so it lobbies our representatives to insure that the stream of marijuana offenders keeps coming. These prisons would much rather have a prison full of non-violent drug offenders than serious violent criminals. There are many more reasons but I grow weary here. It is a complicated issue, which is why KY will be the last to change...we don't do complicated issues very well around here. I don't know why. Do you?

  • Thank you Ron and thank you State-journal for allowing us to hear the other side of the issue.

  • thank you , I couldnt have said it better . Dana Bussey Indiana

  • Money is the reason. It's always been the reason. Not everybody can make their own booze or cigarettes but marijuana can be easily grown by anybody. The only way the government can make money on it is to keep it illegal & keep raking in the fines.

  • It's about time our country recognized that a lot of Americans like to get high with something other than alcohol. If the government really wanted to make people safe then it would legalize every recreational drug that's safer than booze. That would retain alcohol as the most harmful recreational drug legally available while at the same time giving people the right to legally choose safer alternatives to alcohol. This is definitely NOT something that we're allowed to do under prohibition. If the government really wants to keep us safe then why is it bending over backwards to make us unsafe?

  • Criminal marijuana prohibition is a failure. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965. Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use. Our public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it. Everyone knows several people who covertly use marijuana on a regular basis...but they may not be aware of it because there are NO lingering telltale side effects to indicate their use. Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose. According to the prestigious European medical journal, The Lancet, "The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health. ... It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat ... than alcohol or tobacco." What are we going to do, let government bankrupt us by trying to put all of these people in jail for doing something that may or may not be good for them?