Hashing it out: BU students on debate over cannabis legalization

Jess Barnett, News Editor

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A bill proposed in the Senate could potentially legalize marijuana nationwide.

According to Futurism, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden introduced the bill on Friday, Feb. 9. “The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong plain and simple,” Wyden comments.

The name of the bill proposed is S.420. It would give the Drug Enforcement Administration 60 days to take cannabis off the list of controlled substances.

Additionally, this law would add tax to the substance and put in effect retail permits, similar to the ones on tobacco products and alcohol.

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program has been around for one year as of this week. Philadelphia Inquiry reported that there are more than 116,000 citizens in Pennsylvania alone who are registered as patients and 83,000 of them have been issued medical cards.

This allows them to buy cannabis at the 45 dispensaries located throughout the state. According to Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, the dispensaries have completed nearly 600,000 medical marijuana transactions, grossing $132 million in total sales.

Debates are still ongoing as to legalizing it recreationally in the state. Democratic Pennsylvania lawmaker Jake Wheatley earlier this week introduced an adult-use cannabis bill which would change the current medical marijuana act.

This would “legalize the sale and adult use of cannabis and levy a tax that has estimated could bring in more than $580 million,” according to Wheatley.
As first reported in the Philadelphia Inquiry, if this law is put into place, anyone who had been arrested and convicted of a minor cannabis offense would have those crimes expunged from their record.

Aditionally, any citizen of Pennsylvania over the age of 21 would be allowed to have up to six plants at home, as long as only three were flowering at any given time.

More than half of the U.S. has legalized medical marijuana. Some common illnesses that cannabis has been proven to help according to Medical Daily are stress, cancer, PTSD, anxiety, neurodegenerative diseases, multiple sclerosism cerebal palsy and parkinson’s disease.

“Marijuana is helpful with anxiety disorders and just plain stress simply because the brain naturally produces cannabinoids which are active chemicals found in marjiuana and what help regulate how fear is processed in the brain,” according to Medical Daily.

Parkison’s disease is estimated to effect one million people, while cerebral palsy affects as many as 764,000 children and adults. Both of these affect the nervous system in people.

Marijuana has shown a “huge promise in saving these people.” It has  alsobeen proven to reduce the symptoms that come with these among other neurodegenerative diseases.

Cancer is another very common disease in which symptoms can be alleviated by marijuana, especially with people who undergo chemotherapy. Cancer comes with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and pain.

The FDA has already approved medications that include THC and have used them in cancer patients. It significantly helped with appetitie also known as the “munchies.”