Happy 4/21- Why I Didn’t Write About Medical Cannabis Yesterday

by Janet Jay

Happy 4/21! I didn’t write about medical cannabis yesterday, even though I wanted to. Why? Texas, mostly.

On a white background with cannabis leaves around the bottom and right edges, text reads "Happy 4/21-- why i didn't write about medical cannabis yesterday, janetjay.com"

Listen, I’m happy that my sister in Seattle can walk down the street and buy anything she wants. (Really! I am truly thrilled at the spread of legalization, not being sarcastic.). But even though I’ve been in constant joint and nerve pain since I was 15, I can’t. I’m so glad my colleague’s state has such a thriving medical cannabis program that she’s fighting over things like insurance coverage. But there is no medical cannabis program in my state whatsoever. (“Medical marijuana” with no THC doesn’t fucking count. CBD alone does zilch for some people.) This means that anyone with chronic pain who wants to use marijuana for pain relief has to chance telling their doctor about it, and possibly losing that doctor, or not telling their doctor, technically breaking their ‘pain contract,’ also potentially losing that doctor.

I didn’t write about medical cannabis yesterday because it doesn’t matter if it helps your joint pain or muscle tightness more than anything else. Opiates or marijuana?  I certainly hope they don’t help you in different but still significant ways, because from everything I’ve heard from people in states like mine, it usually comes down to choosing one or the other.

Even if cannabis helps you take fewer opiates, it doesn’t matter. We’re not in the land of logic anymore. Even when doctors refuse to treat people who use medical cannabis, they no longer attempt a medical argument for the decision. Because there is no valid argument for keeping marijuana Schedule 1. That means “it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.” Under current federal law, marijuana is more dangerous than cocaine, meth, or oxycodone.

Sure.

Vintage "Nancy" cartoon with her sitting in bed, saying "I've never been so frustrated in my whole life!"
“Nancy” panel from Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy’s Aunt Fritzi Ritz

I didn’t write about medical cannabis yesterday because depending on what version of it you prefer, it’s a felony with a lot of jail time in my state. Prefer vaping or edibles to ruining your lungs by smoking flower? According to Austin law firm Guest & Gray

“Any edible or THC vape, no matter how small, is a felony in Texas. One THC cookie = felony. One THC vape cartridge = felony. It’s not like regular plant marijuana, where they have to show a usable quantity either. Any amount is enough; one crumb from your pot brownie = felony. Less than one gram is a state jail felony, which is the same penalty Texas has for meth, cocaine, and heroin. That’s right, the geniuses who wrote our state’s weed laws made pot brownies the same penalty as crack. Great job, guys! For an edible over 1 gram but less than 4 grams, the offense is considered a 3rd-degree felony. That means you are looking at 2-10 years in prison for EDIBLES.”

Prefer concentrates/dabbing? Also a straight felony! All forms of THC concentrates are illegal in Texas. And of course anything involving the mail is, you guessed it, a big honkin’ felony. That’s not even starting on county-by-county legislation.

Texas policy in a nutshell: Vape? Go to jail. You want some extract? Go to jail. One gummie? Right to jail.

Republicans are mostly to blame for this– Texas’s ridiculous laws are almost entirely based on Greg Abbott’s political maneuvering and bootlicking. But Dems have plenty of blame here too. Biden promised to– and could at any time!– change this landscape completely. It would be a massive win for Dems and polling shows widespread support on both sides of the aisle. Sooooooooo…

Snip of twitter post by 
Holding Biden Accountable @WaitingOnBiden
Happy 4/20! Today is the 456th day that Biden has refused to fulfill his cannabis campaign promises, which are still up on his website, hand emoji pointing at snip from website:
BIDEN
 HARRIS 
DEMOCRATS Decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions. Biden believes no one should be in jail because of cannabis use. As president, he will decriminalize cannabis use and automatically expunge prior convictions. And, he will support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, leave decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states, and reschedule cannabis as a schedule Il drug so researchers can study its positive and negative impacts.
6:00 AM - Apr 20, 2022. Twitter Web App
What the actual fuck, Dems.

I didn’t write about medical cannabis yesterday because in places like this, it can bite you in the ass. Someone I know was recently sent to a cardiologist. They mentioned cannabis use because they had read that it could affect heart rate, and the doctor noted it in their chart. When a different doctor saw it, that person ended up losing the pain management doctor they had been going to for half a dozen years. Despite saying it in confidence. “Always be fully truthful with your doctors” is usually the correct approach, but I don’t have the luxury of thinking it’s always true.

I didn’t write about medical cannabis yesterday because I don’t know what my future holds. I have to keep my options open. 

Happy 4/21. I’m truly happy that the landscape has changed so much and that most people can now access this vital medicine. But there are a whole lot of people still out here suffering. 

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