Most people associate marijuana first and foremost with its recreational uses. Carl Hedberg, who visited BU to present his lecture, “Cannabis Rising,” set his agenda straight in the very beginning, saying that “cannabis is a medicinal herb we use recreationally, not the other way around.” As a consultant to users of medical marijuana, Hedberg drew on his own experiences during the lecture to validate his points about the medicinal properties of marijuana. He stressed the ability of the non-toxic, natural herb to help cancer patients and others with chronic illness deal with their symptoms without the dangerous side effects of standard pharmaceutical drugs.
The presentation included a fair amount of critique towards American popular media and government policy, saying that they obscure the medical benefits of marijuana by promoting social stigmas and trivializing it as a recreational drug without remedial value. Because of cannabis’ status as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, research in the field is severely limited. Anecdotal evidence can only go so far in examining the science behind the claims of its effectiveness without credible, published studies to back it up.
Besides cannabis’s potential in the medical field, Hedberg talked at length about the economic benefits that he believes would follow legalization. Countries that allow cultivation of hemp, the non-psychoactive fiber material that comes from the cannabis plant, are receiving a boost from the increasingly profitable natural fibers industry. Moreover, he discussed the potential of small home growing operations to turn things around for small-town America and “unskilled” workers who are finding it harder and harder to work in today’s economy. Granting people the ability to grow their own medicines, he said, will strengthen local communities and grant people a greater degree of freedom and self-sufficiency. Hedberg claimed that the phenomenon of home cultivation is already spreading and the technology to make it possible is improving, as more people choose that as an alternative to purchasing cannabis through the black market.
Some aspects of the lecture I thought were persuasive and others less so, but all in all the talk provided for an interesting evening. Rooted in personal experience, the lecture expressed ideas I wouldn’t have come across otherwise. The discussion it spurred between K.C. Mackey, the President of the SSDP; Yi Wu, Vice President; and a few lecture attendees afterwards was just as interesting. The discussion identified the lack of communication between students and the administration regarding drug policy as an issue that plagues BU and referenced social stigma surrounding cannabis and fear of repercussion from the school as reasons people don’t stand up for a policy that coincides better with student interests.
Silence is exactly the problem the SSDP is fighting against, and its events are all geared at promoting an open line of discussion about the controversial subject of drug policy. An upcoming event, co-hosted by the Philosophy Students Association, will be a movie screening of Traffic, followed by discussion. It will take place on November 22 and everyone is welcome to come and share their thoughts. Before the administration is brought into the picture, students themselves must be able to debate and discuss their opinions openly with their peers.
via : Buquad
You must be logged in to post a comment.