Delegate Ready, I was surprised to see your reply to my comment on TheWeedBlog. I’m glad that you took the time to explain your stance on cannabis legalization in Maryland, however I feel that I must rebut one of your points.
You stated that there has been scientific evidence showing that marijuana damages brain cells, but in fact, that is one issue that almost every relevant study agrees upon: cannabis poses no risk to the brain or to an individual’s intellect. I think you may be referring to one recent study which claimed that adolescents and young teens who smoke cannabis may suffer from diminished IQs. But you should note that a follow-up study concluded that the original study was incorrect, stating that the true probable cause of the lower IQs of the test subjects was related to the socioeconimic status of the test subjects, rather than their marijuana usage (source: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/01/09/1215678110.abstract?sid=2376b516-baa1-4ad1-8ba2-98582af25378 ).
Despite the strict restrictions about conducting research on cannabis use, there really have been quite a few studies done (abroad or otherwise). And almost all of them suggest that cannabis is virtually harmless among all users, regardless or age or frequency of use. A major problem we have now is that the federal government (particularly the DEA) puts itself in the position as a be-all-end-all source on drug-related information. They have a very small hand-full of studies (a fraction of the studies that have actually been done), hand picked to weakly suggest that cannabis is harmful. Then they go on to claim that any other studies are invalid because they conflict with their current standards. Even the ones that were funded by the federal government in the first place! I know there is very little you or I could do about this from the state level, but I do hope you will keep an open mind about the subject and attempt to learn more than the limited information you can get from the government itself.
The one thing I most desperately wish from my political representatives is for them to fully embrace science. There are always two sides to every political issue, and everyone has an opposing opinion, but when it comes to science, there is only one truth. And more importantly, scientific conclusions can change as new information is discovered. So, Mr. Ready, if you take anything from this long winded comment, I hope it is that you should continue to educate yourself. Understand the science behind your issues, and always be willing to challenge your own conclusions if new facts are present. Truth should always trump politics.
I too would oppose legalization if the science suggested it would be harmful to the consumers or to society in general. But I have never read a single trustworthy study suggesting such (and I have read up on the subject quite a lot, as you might imagine).
So, all that being said, and hopefully I still have your attention, I truly do appreciate your support of medical marijuana. Not many politicians are willing to acknowledge that an illegal substance could have any benefit at all, so I respect your willingness to take such a bold stance. So, thank you. But recently, more and more politicians are beginning to realize the truth and notice the scientific evidence showing what a helpful medicine this can be. And it really shouldn’t stop there. Many young non-violent people are being thrown into prisons, their lives ruined, simply for choosing to use a relatively harmless substance. Whether you think marijuana is good or bad, you must agree that this situation is wrong. The goal of full legalization is not to promote use, but is rather to prevent the destruction of lives for a simple, harmless life-choice.