By Brian Grimmer, Washington State cannabis activist
There is a disturbing discussion occurring among cannabis legalization advocates: Is it time to abandon medical cannabis advocacy in favor of focusing on outright legalization? As a patient and cannabis advocate, I resoundingly say “NO!” – do not abandon the patients. It is the most effective avenue the cannabis movement has within its arsenal to win the “hearts and minds” of those who oppose cannabis law reform.
Two states in the country now allow for the recreational use of cannabis in addition to medicinal use. In these states, plus the 16 other states and D.C., where medical cannabis is permissible, the path to legalization has been blazed (pun intended) by successful medical cannabis campaigns. The secondary success of medical cannabis, beyond the compassionate treatment of those in need, lies in the fact that the prevalence of medical use in the communities where such use is acceptable has been successful in softening the overall attitudes towards cannabis within these communities.