OPINION – They certainly don’t fit the pro-marijuana stereotype. They’re not tie-dye wearing, Frisbee throwing, long-haired potheads by any stretch. But a growing number of Utah residents dealing with cancer are putting a new face on the debate over medical marijuana.
Brian Scott graduated from Hurricane High School last year. He made his mark as a renowned wrestler, discus thrower, and football player. Brian had a full-ride scholarship to play football at Southern Utah University after he completed a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Uruguay.
But Brian was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia and has had to endure many rounds of chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and hospital stays. His mother Jane has chronicled his ordeal in a blog.
In researching the various treatments for his type of cancer, Brian Scott and his family discovered that cannabis oil was working well for others. Jane Scott said:
The doctor who we met with that advises people with this has an MD and Phd from Stanford University, and has degrees from other universities as well. She worked in pharmaceuticals for 4 years, then quit because she didn’t feel it was right…now dedicated to what she believes will heal people. She explained the science to us, which we already were familiar with, but about the two main chemicals in the oil, THC and CBD. Both kill the cancer.
Unfortunately, Utah’s laws make absolutely zero allowance for the use of medical marijuana. Ultimately, Brian had to move to Colorado in order to receive the treatment he needed.
Their story is similar to that of the family of Stockton May who suffers from Dravet Syndrome. Stockton May suffers from severe epilepsy that caused him to have roughly 300 seizures per week. Stockton May’s mother Jennifer May saw the news video of another child suffering from Dravet Syndrome who was being successfully treated with medical marijuana.
Like many Utah residents, Jennifer May was skeptical about what she considered an excuse for pot users to abuse the system in the name of medicine. But that was before she did her homework.
In an interview with Libertas Institute, Jennifer said:
“Now I feel like we may have really been mistaken; this plant may actually be a very good source of medication. It’s really frustrating that so many could benefit from the proper use and form of medical cannabis, but in most places they can’t have access to it without breaking the law.”
These stories help illustrate how the “Reefer Madness” mindset is preventing good, honest people from getting the help their children need. Far from gaming the system for the sake of getting high, there appears to be real value to the treatments sought by these families. So why does the state, and a large majority of Utah residents, fight so tenaciously to deny them access to legal cannabis?
It comes down to a mindset that any marijuana use whatsoever is simply the gateway to a lifetime of drug abuse and addiction. Worse still, it is part of a desire to control others who may utilize things with which we do not agree.
This rigid, inflexible thinking is entirely devoid of empathy. It chalks up the suffering and denial of the freewill of others as necessary costs to maintain an orderly society. In so doing, it lumps cancer-stricken individuals in with hardcore substance abusers as if they were one and the same.
It also perverts the proper role of government by perpetuating the idea that anything not under the direct control of the state is, by definition, out of control. That type of thinking is what allows the state to criminalize a plant that may provide needed benefit by dismissing medical uses as phony excuses for getting high.
The two mothers quoted above are not advocating irresponsible behavior. They are trying to get their children the help they need to treat life-threatening illnesses. Those who maintain that these parents are simply gaming the system to promote drug abuse need to take a good long look in the mirror.
Behind the noble platitudes there is an underlying desire to control the lives of others. And it has some very undesirable side effects. The war on drugs has become a form of welfare for certain aspects of law enforcement. It unnecessarily empowers criminal cartels that benefit greatly from the artificially high profits.
As undesirable as substance abuse may be, oppressive and unreasonable government is even worse since it affects everyone — not just those who make irresponsible choices.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.