The legalization of marijuana on a state level is encouraging for patients who use medical marijuana to ease symptoms from debilitating, chronic conditions. Despite the fact that medical cannabis helps patients escape a life sentence of pain, the medicinal use of marijuana is still not widely accepted.
Patients who have been cleared for medicinal use are often labeled as “stoners” or “potheads” — condescending stereotypes that are extremely unfair for people seeking relief from symptoms of chronic illnesses. So how do medical marijuana users overcome societal stigmas? Perhaps the best first step is to look at the reality of medical marijuana use today.
Sadly, there is nothing simple about legalized marijuana in the United States, whether it’s for recreational or medical use. First, laws vary from state-to-state. Plus, they are heavily regulated with unending debates (pros and cons) at both the state and federal levels. The deeper you dig, the more complicated it gets.
Federal laws are not supportive
While states have a say about legalizing marijuana, it’s still not legal on a federal level. According to NPR, “Marijuana, along with heroin, LSD, methaqualone, peyote, and ecstacy remain outlawed in the U.S. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms or ATF, classifies such drugs as having no currently accepted medical use, and a high potential for abuse.”
A lack of consistency
To further muddy the waters, even if marijuana is legal on a state level, it’s still constantly being debated at the federal level.
For example, acting Attorney General Sessions denounces the drug, and in January 2018, he informed federal prosecutors that they should make marijuana prosecution decisions using general law enforcement principles. This, in turn, puts everyone involved in marijuana use, including state medical marijuana employees, on notice that they could be subject to federal prosecution if Congress fails to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.