The main focus on cannabis reform seems to always settle on proof. Proof that cannabis actually helps cure the ailments that people all over the country are claiming it can. One may look for solace in their government, turning to those they helped elect for guidance. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders spoke of cannabis legalization during the Clinton Administration until she was forced to leave office in 1994 for voicing her beliefs. Since then, the guidance from the government has continued to drip with derogatory terms, negatively obtuse propaganda, and a refusal to research the medicinal properties of the cannabis.
Continuing to voice her support for marijuana reform, Mrs. Elders has stepped back into the spotlight once again; not in Washington D.C., but in San Francisco as guest speaker for the International Cannabis Business Conference. The ex-Surgeon General commenced the event by criticizing the current drug policies of the United States. Elders called for decriminalization, and demanded that the federal government increase its research for possible medicinal and recreational use. Bare in mind, one must remember who is demanding this change in legislation. This is a former Surgeon General, the person who is appointed by the President of these United States to use his/her knowledge to make decisions on what is best for the public health of the American People. These words are not coming from a place of underhandedness, or for a promise for a big payoff. These are demands for change from a person charged with the very lives of this country. Elders makes her point very clear in this quote taken from the Sacramento Bee, she states:
“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS – or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them […] And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”
The schedule 1 stigma that cannabis still carries today stumps Elders. With access to more dangerous drugs used to fight diseases sold everyday, confusion is understandable. This is the moment the cannabis culture has waited so long for. A public figure with a solid reputation, knowledge, and experience in our corner. This country is changing once again and Elders’ words are the spark that ignited the fires of change. The conference itself is a testament to the beliefs of Elders and people like her, who are not afraid to speak their mind in the face of opposition. Holding a business conference for the growing cannabis industry is a telling sign of things to come, for the country as well as California.
November’s election is sure to have cannabis legalization on the ballot, and a vote for legalization is more important now than ever before. At long last, politicians and investors alike are beginning to take notice of the message Joycelyn Elders has been saying for over twenty years. It’s such a shame that she was forced out of her position at such a pivotal time in our nation’s history. Maybe if things had been different, she could have helped troubleshoot President Clinton’s inhale speech.