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Legalize It, Don't Criticize It

Letters to Artvoice
Legalize It, Don't Criticize It

New York’s successful passage of a medical cannabis bill, as in New Jersey, created a tease for those who have ailments that cannabis can treat. Another paper described it as paving the way towards failure. The Compassionate Care Act is not enough for Western New York. The Compassionate Care Act is exclusive and should be inclusive, if the law is truly compassionate toward those we care about. This means that more than just the 10 conditions should be eligible and more than five growers should exist in the state. This shows how the politically connected and wealthy have continued to profit under the guise of caring for others. In Buffalo we have a renowned cancer research center that should be allowed to do the appropriate research. “In Western New York, we have one of the highest populations of people who suffer from MS in the nation.”

There are tons of studies that suggest that inhaled cannabis can help reduce spasticity. Smoked cannabis can help reduce MS-related pain in MS patients versus a placebo, and even exert an antidepressant effect due to lesser known cannabinoids like AEA, 9-THC and CBC even moreso than CBD and dronabinol.

Anybody suffering from any ailments should be allowed to have access to cannabis if a licensed and regulated doctor sees fit. Support the Buffalo Medical Marijuana Act! Why is cannabis a Schedule 1 substance, if the federal government has a patent on a cannabinoid?

Patients should be allowed to grow their own cannabis, as there have been zero recorded deaths in human history from the direct use of cannabis. Take 13 aspirin pills and see what happens. This type of law creates hypocrisy within the law by not amending the penal code—having medical patients classified as criminals by continuing to enforce the biased war on drugs. All the while having “legal drugs”that do more harm.

Former President Jimmy Carter summed up perfectly in a speech on Drug Abuse to Congress on August 2, 1977. “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana in private use.”

Take this out of the criminal justice system like we did alcohol. Did we learn nothing from the last war on drugs in the 1930s? Prohibition causes criminals where none would be, prisoners of so called free people, and a monopoly for those like the cartel. Look at Washington and Colorado as examples, estimates for cartel sales to the US saw a decrease of 40 percent! We could do even more. It starts with local support, local laws, being open and open minded in our discussion on the topic of cannabis.

So what can people do to help the cannabis legalization movement? Locally, people can support the Buffalo Cannabis Movement which is working on the Buffalo Marijuana Act. It would decriminalize under 35 grams, and legalize the right to grow industrial hemp. People can call their local council member in the Buffalo Common Council and tell them to sponsor, bring to a vote, and vote yes on the Buffalo Marijuana Act. We have more ways beyond the local level listed on our wesbsite—including a statewide-decriminalization bill and a bill which is modeled like Colorado and Washington State. On a Federal level, there is a bill that would reschedule cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2, and redefine the legal term “marihuana”—changing the research and business climate to allow us to learn more and to allow new cannabis businesses to be able to thrive. There are many other bills that allow taxation and regulation of cannabis.

By now it seems like there is much legislative progress and that the politicians will get this ball rolling, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. People must fight every single day by contacting their representatives and by urging others to do the same. This may seem like a lot to take in, however the Buffalo Cannabis Movement is fighting every single day to make sure compassion, empathy, and facts are entering the public debate over failed cannabis prohibition laws.

An easy way to help with the fight for legalization is to check out our website or FB, Twitter, and sign up for our mailing list. There is an online petition for the Buffalo Marijuana Act on our site that you can sign and share with friends. Every day our group members are getting cardstock style petition cards signed by Buffalo residents. We are always looking for new volunteers. BCM will be holding a 420 Freedom Festival in Delaware Park on April 20, 2016 at 4:20pm to help highlight these issues in the public sphere. There are tons of organizations and a few politicians that support the Buffalo Cannabis Movement. You can find them on our site.

We hope to see you on the frontline of this very important issue, and hope you invite others to be engaged in this issue on a civic level.

Artvoice reserves the right to edit letters for content and length. Shorter letters have a better chance at being published in their entirety. Please include your name, hometown, and contact number. E-mail letters to: or write to: Artvoice Letters, 810 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

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