TED Conversations

Neil Deatherage


This conversation is closed.

Should Cannabis be legalized as a medicine?

The rich biodiversity of plants in nature has provided humans many medicines to prevent and cure sickness and disease. The use of cannabis as a medicine continues to gain acceptance within the scientific and medical community, with Connecticut early this month joining 16 other states to legalize it for medical use. Case studies continue to support the value of cannabis as a medicine to ameliorate various ailments ranging from glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, Parkinson's, chronic pain, and nausea associated with cancer.

Despite scientific evidence supporting medicinal qualities from cannabis, much controversy surrounds outright legalization for medicinal use. While many states currently allow cannabis as an alternative to traditional medicines, the FDA continues to classify cannabis as a schedule I drug subjecting patients to possible fines and/or imprisonment under federal law.

Can cannabis find a place in today's society as an alternative medicine, or are possible unforeseen consequences too great to allow this plant for medicinal use?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 21 2012: There seems to be one issue that people seem to forgetting about, that needs to be considered in this discussion. Money. As far a legaization goes, it is never ending cycle of opposing views. However, the economic growth and development of an industry needs to be considered.

    It is estimated that the state of California is missing out on about $15 billion in revenue from legalization. This is in just sales and taxes alone. Consider the fact that there would also be an industrial boon resulting in the creation of new jobs in the sales, cultivation, distribution, and marketing aspects. Given the fact that the US faces an incredible amount of debt at this time, the government needs to be proactive in its search for new streams of revenue. Not only would there be the taxable income from individual states, there could, and should be federal luxury taxes as well, similar to those on alcohol and tobacco.

    Take into account the reduction in cost of the war on drugs and the federal government could be earing billions annually from a simple piece of legislature. I do believe that there needs to be regulation and control if legalization were considered. Fines, taxes, and penalites must be applied. But, simply apply the rules that govern alcohol to marijuana, and there is a system set up for the government to manage, and mitigate the risks that will come.

    The pro-marijuana groups, such as NORML, have a mantra of "Tax my weed legally, please". This simple statement shows that there is a growing social drive, a willingness to pay any and all taxes levied, and a growing market that needs to be tapped. This source of incomes should not be ignored.
    • May 21 2012: This seems like the main argument for most people but it is not as simple as most seem to think. Legalizing weed would instantly take away power, money and influence from the tobacco, pharmaceutical and alcohol industries. To me, it makes a lot more sense that these industries fighting to keep marijuana illegal is what is preventing marijuana from having an economic impact rather than the government's unwillingness to make it legal. You are definitely right when you say money is at the root of this discussion but the groups that are fighting for legalization have a lot less than those fighting to keep it illegal and surrounded by social stigmas.
      • May 21 2012: Its funny that you mention that. I was under the distinct impression that the role of government was to be the voice of the people. It seems, however, that the powers that be are more interested in the special interest groups that fund their campaigns that what the people desire.

        For years I have spoken about how the government needs to strip itself away from the special interest teat and go back to its roots. Of the people, for the people, by the people. Instead, the government has degenerated into an elitist organization with the will of the common man no where in its sights. Even the Democrats, who claim to care for the middle and working classes, all come from well to do socialites.

        It has been ages since someone in big government has actually cared, and acted upon, the needs of the commonwealth. Instead the entire system has become gummed up with the backscratching of special interest groups and the "good-old boys club". It has all become a homogeneous blob.

        If the people were actually represented I believe that not only would we see the decriminalization of a common plant, but we would see a paradigm shift towards a system that aims to take care of its citizens though socialized programs, including health care.

        Now, don't for a second think that I am in favor of Socialism and Big-Brother. However, last I checked, my big brother has always looked out for my well being, no matter the cost to himself.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.