The stigma of pot-heads and stoners persists despite the recent trend toward medicinal marijuana. When I see discussions of medical marijuana, my first thought goes back to a few episodes of the television show Weeds. Doug Wilson, the self-centered and childish former politician finagles a prescription for medical marijuana which he enthusiastically and humorously exploits. I imagine I’m not the only one who secretly giggles whenever someone tries to talk about the serious benefits of marijuana. However, as Georgia joins the list of states authorizing medicinal marijuana, it may be time we change our thinking and look at the intense struggles of those who suffer from seizure disorders or other diseases. How could we not want to help them?
On Friday, Governor Deal signed an executive order that decriminalizes cannabis oil for the treatment of certain diseases and will expedite the enactment of HB1. HB1 is nicknamed Haleigh’s Hope Act in honor of Haleigh Cox, a 4-year old girl who suffers from debilitating seizures and had to move to Colorado in order to receive cannabis oil. As a medical refugee, Haleigh’s condition greatly improved but she and her family missed their home here in Georgia. On their Facebook page, Haleigh’s mother explained the huge improvements that Haleigh has made since they have been able to control her seizures, how talkative and expressive Haleigh has become, and how happy she is to bring Haleigh back home to Georgia. This young girl certainly doesn't look like a pothead to me!
|Haleigh Cox, www.facebook.com/HopeForHaleigh|
The disease list is certainly not complete, and WSBTV reported that Fibromyalgia was removed from the list when the bill passed through the Health and Human Services Committee where Senator Renee Unterman serves as Chairman. According to WSBTV, the list includes sickle cell anemia, cancer, Crohn's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson's disease, and seizure disorders. It is also worth noting that smoked forms of marijuana will not be legalized, and the cannabis oil has lower amounts of THC or tetrahydracannabinol which makes the user feel dizzy or high.
What do you think? Can we change the stigma of marijuana and see it for the benefits it offers to those suffering? Or will we always see it as the comedic stoners getting high and eating Cheetos?