[OP-ED]: Prevarications On Pot: Nonsense Clouds Common Sense
Two days after another Trump Administration official made another astoundingly inaccurate assertion about the dangers of marijuana, Ricardo Rivera gave a group of Temple University students a poignant account about the powers of pot.
Rivera’s account about pot last week was personal not professorial.
This military veteran and health care professional told those students enrolled in Temple’s “Marijuana And The News” course about healing properties of pot that he witnessed himself through his daughter who has a severe form of epilepsy that once caused the child to have hundreds of seizures daily.
When Rivera’s daughter, Tatyana, did not improve from the combination of 25 pharmaceutical drugs doctors had prescribed for her seizures, Rivera turned to marijuana oil.
“Oils saved my daughter’s life,” Rivera told the Temple students.
Rivera explained how doctors once told him his child would not live beyond nine years old, a prediction that did not materialize. Rivera attributed improvements in his daughter’s quality of life to her receiving treatments with marijuana oil that he makes himself.
Rivera prepares oil in the kitchen of his Camden County home because NJ’s medical marijuana program does not include the sale of marijuana oils or edibles – modes of administration preferable for children with medical needs. Rivera is a legally registered marijuana caregiver in NJ.
Joining Rivera at that Temple talk was Mike Whiter, a Marine Corps veteran of combat in Kosovo and Iraq, who found relief from his PTSD in pot. Whiter had taken upwards of 40 pills daily but those drugs neither relieved his PTSD nor prevented three PTSD triggered suicide attempts.
Two days before that Temple talk, federal Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly bashed pot as a “gateway drug” prompting use of harder drugs.
Kelly’s claim, asserted constantly by anti-drug warriors, was conclusively debunked in an extensive research report released in 1944 by the New York Academy of Medicine. That report stated marijuana does not lead to heroin or cocaine addiction and marijuana does not cause users to commit crimes, another persistent falsehood from anti-drug warriors.
Pennsylvania is one of the 28 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use. The U.S. Pharmacopeia listed marijuana as a valid medical substance from 1850 to 1941, four-years after the federal government outlawed the use of marijuana.
The federal official responsible for pot’s prohibition in 1937, Pennsylvania native Harry Anslinger, purposely demonized blacks and Hispanics. Anslinger falsely claimed cannabis crazed Hispanics committed crimes while pot propelled blacks sexually assaulted white women. That 1944 NY report also documented disproportionate arrests of minorities for pot possession – a practice that still persists.
Last week several hundred people rallied in Harrisburg demanding legalization of marijuana for adult use. One speaker at that Capitol building protest was Pennsylvania’s Auditor General who supports legalization for the $200-million in tax revenue legalization could generate for Pa’s cash starved government.
The same day that Rivera and Whiter spoke at Temple, CBS News released a poll showing a new high: 61 percent of all Americans support the legalization of marijuana.