cannabis

Why Marijuana Should be Legal in the US

Please note:  I am not a medical doctor, lawyer or politician.  I am an individual with a chronic health condition.  After much study, I decided that I needed to reconsider the medications I had been taking for decades; medications that were only treating the baseline of my chronic conditions.  I was shocked to know that my experienced medical doctors knew nothing about the effects of cannabis or even how to go about getting a license to try medical marijuana for their patients.  This is the post I wrote on FB after reading an article on digBoston about how people like me are taking responsibility for their own health and finally getting relief from chronic conditions.

I came across this article about people who are using medical marijuana and I thought some of my friends with chronic pain might be interested. Essentially this is what has happened to me. I found relief from chronic pain and anxiety by taking a mix of CBD and a low dose of cannabis in the form of a sativa.

Do note that the patients had to be their own advocate and find out how to get relief.

Figuring out how to diagnose and use medication is something we have always depended on from the medical community.  But now our doctors and healers are at a loss for helping us with this marvelous treatment.  This is partly because using cannabis to treat medical conditions has yet to be approved nationally and, therefore, cannot be studied legally.

Now–for once–patients are taking responsibility of their lives and bodies instead of just doing “what the doctor ordered”. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it shows the failure of traditional medicine for real medical problems.

Today’s patients suffer because they don’t have access to information on how cannabis can help them treat their problems.  They go to their doctors–who write them prescriptions for dangerous drugs–but don’t even encourage them to explore options such as cannabis.

Furthermore many patients don’t have the financial means to get access to what, I consider to be, life saving medication.  Frankly getting a medical marijuana license is expensive–probably too expensive for most of our seniors and the disabled–and many people are waiting to be able to purchase “recreational” cannabis for their medical issues.

Until patients are able to utilize cannabis for their medical problems, they face additional issues, such as the prospect of losing major benefits such as disability benefits or insurance because they want to try marijuana.

Consider that currently you have to pay $250 up front for a MML, before you can try it.  What average person has $250 to throw into a bucket on something they haven’t even tried?

And don’t forget that they have to pay that $250 every year to renew their license, because a MML is only good for 1 year.

Can you imagine being in a situation where you have to pay $250 a year just for the right to get treatment, when you already pay into your insurance policies?

Imagine, too, that in addition to paying this yearly fee, you have to pay for the full amount of the medicine, because medical marijuanas are not covered by insurance.

Don’t even get me started on the cost of some medical marijuana solutions. When only one shop sells it in your area, you have to pay what they charge.  Whereas I was paying a small monthly copay for FOUR Class 1 drugs prescribed to me, I now have to shell out hundreds of dollars on medical marijuanas.  To be clear: I used to take four Class 1 drugs, which cost me next to nothing.  I eliminated these four medications by using marijuana in their places.

Furthermore some people are scared of losing their civil rights–such as, everyone’s favorite topic, the right to carry a firearm–should they decide to go for an MML card.

I’ve asked a dozen people if you can have both a gun license AND a medical marijuana license, if you so chose to.  I’ve never received a clear answer on the matter, but the answers are leaning toward an answer of “no”.  Which means if you are say a disabled American veteran who wants to have a license to carry, you would not be able to also get your medical needs met with a legal form of marijuana.

For that matter, consider the dichotomy between obtaining a medical marijuana license and a gun license in Massachusetts. In the Commonwealth, I would only have to be 15 years old and pay $100 for a license to carry in Massachusetts.  A gun license in Massachusetts is good for six years.

But on the other hand, in order for me to get a medical marijuana license in the Commonwealth, I have to be 18 years old with a chronic or life threatening illness.  In addition, I need to prove my need for that license every year, because a MML needs to be renewed every year.

When you average the costs of having a license to carry a lethal weapon versus the ability to buy and use medical marijuana the results are astounding!  

A gun license that costs $100 and needs to be renewed every six years essentially just costs the gun owner less than $20 a year ($100 divided by six years)!  But, in order for me to have access to life saving medicine, I have to pay $250 a year.

Frankly that is absurd!

This is the intrinsic problem of not having a FEDERAL level solution to this issue.

As a Massachusetts resident who greatly values my freedoms, I had to weigh all that out before I decided to get a medical marijuana license.

Ultimately I decided I could no longer wait until my local politicians could figure out what to do about implementing the already legal sales of cannabis.

I have watched as the politicians from my city (Peabody, MA) have tried to stop the sale of recreational marijuana in my community–because of old and misinformation, poor understanding of their constituents needs and just plain stubbornness with thinking they are right.

Don’t you think it’s time for us to expect our local politicians to do their research before making a decision?  Shouldn’t we expect them to do their homework before making decisions?  Shouldn’t we expect they make decisions that are good for its citizens and based on accurate information?

I am disappointed that our mayor and almost the entire team of councilmen don’t even consider how much they are alienating their own constituents, because they are making improper assumptions, often based on their own personal opinion and not the facts.

For me, I couldn’t wait until elected officials could figure out what to do, so I did what any law abiding citizen would do: I got a medical marijuana license.

Pain relief was my motivation.

But, I ask you, should that really be the case? Should I have to pay so much more for a solution that should be easily adopted in my city?  Why would the mayor be against allowing his own citizens getting relief from their illnesses?  And furthermore, isn’t this somehow causing a moral dilemma within our community?

Personally, I think pushing away what the majority of the voters wanted, because you think you know what is best for citizens is the wrong way to govern.  It smacks of authoritarian, to be honest.  Our elected officials need to be cognizant to the fact that their livelihood was made possible by the people they govern.  They also need to understand that their positions may not be as secure as they think they are.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to lift the ban federally and do away with all the bad information and educate both our politicians and our doctors.  Allowing nationwide use would allow our doctors to treat the millions of people who seek relief from medical issues.

Why are we so afraid of giving our citizens a solution that is proven to work, but we go along with pharmaceutical companies pushing opioids and other dangerous drugs to everyone.  

Pharmaceutical companies, politicians and the medical community created this opioid crisis.  They should now step up and fix the situation.

Making marijuana legal in all 50 states will allow us to address the opioid problem and also allow us to see success with average citizens like me and the ones outlined in this article.

In summation, let me say this.   I have a chronic condition. I know many, many people with chronic conditions. Many of them can’t afford to get the treatment they need NOT because they don’t have insurance or are on welfare or whatever.  I have insurance, but insurance only wanted to give me dangerous drugs to combat my medical problems.  The answer for me was to stop taking dangerous drugs.  The answer for me was not in using alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, food or gambling to “self medicate”.

The answer, for me and many others, is cannabis.  

Cannabis is not a “gateway drug”.  The only way marijuana should be considered a “gateway drug” if you define it as a gateway to freedom from Big Pharma and dangerous prescription drugs.  So, yes, cannabis was my “gateway drug”!  It was my gateway to better health!

To our politicians–local and nationwide–the answer is to legalize marijuana–locally and nationwide.

For further proof of my argument, please read the following article about medical marijuana by digBoston:

Medical Cannabis Special: Treating Yourself article

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Dutch Oven · recipe

Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowl

Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls
Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls

Hi fellow Weight Watchers!

I’m back again with another yummy and “WW friendly” Mexican-style main dish.  This one is an old favorite that I plugged into the WW App and only modified slightly to produce a 6 point large entree to die for!  Soooo yummy for the tummy!

I like to prepare this one in a Dutch Oven, because of its even heating, but it can also be prepared in a regular pot, too!  My 12 year old son–MO–loves this one and he’s not even a Weight Watcher!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups canned/boxed chicken broth
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies (I use Rotel)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) cans/jars of enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn kernals
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

 

Instructions:

  1. Add oil to your Dutch Oven and heat for a minute or so.  Toss in onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook for a minute or two.  Add chicken chunks and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until vegetables are soft and chicken is no longer pink.
  2. Add the rice and stir to combine.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until rice and chicken is light golden brown.
  3. Add chicken broth, canned tomatoes and chilies, enchilada sauce, corn, chili powder and cumin.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Cook covered until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid or for approximately 20 minutes.
  5. Remove pot from heat and add the black beans.  Stir to combine.  Cover and let rest for a few minutes.
  6. Makes 6 *very generous* servings, which equal to about of only 6 Weight Watcher points, as prepared.  Note: If you serve it with a low-fat sour cream and/or a sprinkling of low-fat Mexican cheese you need to consult your app and add for the additional toppings. 
Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls
Skinny Chicken Enchilada Rice Bowls sprinkled with optional low-fat Mexican cheese (don’t forget to add points for the cheese!)

 

recipe

Skinny Black Bean Burritos

Fresh Veggies for Black Bean Burritos
Fresh Veggies for Black Bean Burritos!

In honor of the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday, here is an amazingly delicious and fresh Skinny Black Bean Burrito recipe!

They are easy to prepare and so satisfying!

Ingredients:

  • One yellow, orange or red Bell Pepper, coarsely chopped
  • One medium or half large sweet onion (such as Vidalia onion), coarsely chopped
  • One medium jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Two cloves of garlic, pressed (feel free to use minced!)
  • Pan spray
  • Adobo seasoning
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek-style yogurt
  • Shredded low-fat Mexican style cheese
  • Salsa for garnish
  • Low-carb wraps, such as Tumaro’s “Skip the Sandwich” Wraps

Instructions:

  1. Spray a medium non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat.
  2. Toss in Bell pepper, onion, jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, garlic and cilantro and fry until softened and onion is translucent.
  3. Season with salt and pepper or Adobo seasoning.
  4. Fold in black beans and cook for an additional minute or two until beans are warmed.
  5. Remove pan from heat and mix in yogurt.  Do NOT do this while the pan is still on the heat or it will curdle! You can also use low-fat cream cheese, but I found the Greek yogurt gave a “fresher” taste and also had less WW points.
  6. Spoon the mixture into preheated tortillas.  Sprinkle with a bit of Mexican style cheese and top with salsa, if desired.

This recipe makes 4-6 fully stuffed burritos and–if prepared as above with fat free yogurt and low-carb wraps–they are only 2 Weight Watcher points!!

Black Bean Burritos
Black Bean Burritos

Simply delicious!!