For all of the studies, surveys, and articles out there showing overwhelming public support for the legalization of cannabis for either medicinal or adult use, talking about cannabis is still not always an easy subject to broach. It can be a very personal topic that elicits strong opinions on both sides of the discussion.
Taking a step back for a moment, in Missouri, Amendment 2 had a lot of support. In fact over 1.5 million people voted for its approval versus 0.8 million who did not. It was a tremendous accomplishment for a well written piece of legislation. However, looking purely at the numbers, the supporting vote count translates to approximately 25% of Missouri’s 6.0 million plus population. That does not mean that the other 75% do not support medical cannabis in Missouri, as many probably actually do support it. It is just important to remember that there are those who have differing views.
As part of a younger generation, talking openly about cannabis is fairly commonplace. “Reefer Madness” or Nancy Reagan and the “Just Say No” campaign are things that do not really resonate. That being said, these are still items in the minds of many in older generations, even those who support legalizing cannabis.
Starting (or re-starting) the conversation about cannabis should initially focus on what modern day cannabis is and is not. While the following is in no way an exhaustive list of topics, it is a jumping off point to begin the dialogue.
First, it does have the potential to help a lot of people. This is not a scientific statement of fact (since a lot more research needs to be done), but rather based on countless personal accounts of individuals who have consumed the product and seen dramatic improvements in their quality of life. Whether it is reducing someone’s dependence on opioids, helping with joint and muscle function to increase mobility, or any other benefits people have experienced, cannabis is a very beneficial product for many who consume it.
Next, there are many reasons why a person may or may not choose to consume cannabis. In Missouri, like other medical markets, there will be a ramp up period where more and more individuals elect and become eligible to participate in the program (and, in fact, having over 24,000 patients certified to date is a great accomplishment). The cannabis industry should serve as an avenue by which people have the ability to purchase safe, tested products should they so choose.
Finally, the modern day methods in which the product can be consumed go well beyond the image of a plastic bag with some joints inside. There are balms, drinks, tinctures, suppositories (yes, these exist!), and countless other alternative forms. The key with any of these products is, if you are going to consume, to start slow and experiment to figure out what works best for you and at what dose. Everyone’s body interacts with cannabis differently. As such, there is no one size fits all approach that can be taken to maximize one’s personal experience.
By no means should anyone be forced to change their views on cannabis. However, without engaging in meaningful (yet not always easy) conversations, it is next to impossible to clear up any misconceptions different sides might have. Too often in today’s world, opposing views clash with the mindset that only one can be right. This is not the case, especially with cannabis, a topic that has seemingly sprung up overnight like a weed! Everyone still has a lot to learn about this plant and this industry. Working together today to lay a strong foundation of understanding will have tremendous benefit in the future as modern day cannabis becomes more commonplace.