On April 8, 2015, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) submitted a proposal to the Federal Register that would increase the federal production of marijuana for the second year in a row.
In 2014, federal production of marijuana was increased from 21,000 grams to 650,000 grams. The proposal submitted last week would increase 2015 production from 125,000 grams to 450,000 grams.
A growing awareness among the DEA about the potential medical benefits of cannabidol (CBD) has led to an increase in research and product development beyond what was previously anticipated. “Interest in CBD-rich strains of marijuana has skyrocketed as media coverage featuring children who use the drug to treat severe epilepsy has spurred a growing number of states to pass laws allowing for limited access.”
The agency will accepting public comment on the proposal for the next 30 days.
Allow me to insert my public comment here:
I became aware of the potential benefits of CBD last summer while working for a strain testing company in Southern California. I am a long time advocate of the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana for adult use. While working in the medical marijuana industry I became fascinated with the chemical complexities of marijuana and the potential unexplored medical benefits.
“Marijuana is one of the safest, therapeutically active substances known to man.” ~ DEA Judge Francis Young
Raising my children in a state with medically legal marijuana led to inevitable questions from my 12 and 15 year old children about this subject. “Marijuana is the same as heroin, right Mom?” “If smoking causes cancer, how does smoking marijuana cure it?” “Why is marijuana legal in some states, but still illegal?” “Why do people make clothes out of hemp?”
In response to these questions, I realized total honesty was necessary.
My children are coming of age in a time of rapidly changing societal norms and ideas about marijuana. I had always kept my own opinions to myself, but we are now in a period of ever increasing dialogue about this subject. I found myself having conversations with my children about the historical criminalization of marijuana, how racism and classism influenced these laws, the medical aspects of different molecules found in marijuana, the different classifications of illegal substances, incarceration rates due to marijuana and the over crowding of prisons, my own opinions about legalization and most certainly how I feel about underage use of marijuana.
I’m sure I am not the only parent fielding similar questions from their teens. I have done a great deal of my own research to be able to answer my children’s questions with honesty and accuracy. I am in full support of the DEA proposal to increase Federal marijuana production for further research.
As a parent, I get that we want what is best for our kids, but as a child of the D.A.R.E. generation, I can honestly say fear mongering hasn’t done anything for the “war on drugs.”
Why? Because kids know it’s bullsh*t.
Maybe it’s time we re-evaluate what exactly this “war” is and let go of the Reefer Madness style fear propaganda surrounding marijuana use. In my opinion, not only does marijuana have many promising medical uses, it is recreationally safer than alcohol.
Yes, I said it. I would rather my children experiment with marijuana than alcohol. Any day.
And should my children decide to experiment, I would rather they have real facts about marijuana than propaganda. I provide them with real facts about alcohol and other drugs. Why not pot too?
I get it, it’s uncomfortable to talk to our kids about drugs. I come from a generation which used fear and the promise of damnation as a tool of drug abuse prevention. We don’t have much of an example about how to talk to kids realistically about marijuana. We’re going to have to make it up as we go and the conversation needs to happen. Why? Because our kids our growing up in a country where legal marijuana is a reality.
It is time to let go of our preconceived notions about marijuana and embrace the possibilities that marijuana has to offer.
If the DEA is willing to have a real conversation with the Federal government about marijuana, I’m willing to have a real conversation with my kids.
Author: Jennifer Dowdy
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Katheirne Hitt/Flickr