Would you break the law in order to save the life or ease the suffering of your child? It's probably safe to assume that most people would. This is precisely why 100,000 people have signed a petition in support of an Australian father who was arrested for giving medicinal marijuana to his terminally-ill toddler.
Earlier this month, Adam Koessler was arrested at a Brisbane hospital for giving cannabis oil to his dying 2-year-old daughter, Rumer. He was charged with supplying dangerous drugs to a minor.
Rumer has stage 4 neuroblastoma, a cancer that forms in the nerve tissue. She has a 50 percent chance of surviving. Koessler gave her cannabis oil mixed with coconut to ease her symptoms, and claims it led to "miraculous" signs of improvement.
Speaking with the Australian newspaper the Newscastle Herald, Koessler stated:
He added that it also helped improve her skin color and overall energy level. Yet, in spite of her improvement and his benevolent intentions, he was arrested. While he is in jail, he's not allowed to see or contact his daughter.
Due to an arguably misguided and inhumane law, a father is being separated from his dying daughter. Accordingly, as noted above, thousands signed a petition in his defense, stating:
There is also a Facebook page, "Fearless Father," which documents his struggle. Nearly 50,000 people have liked the page and many other families are using it to share stories similar to his. Thus, it seems that Koessler is not alone in this, other families have attempted to treat their sick children with cannabis oil and faced legal repercussions and judicial opposition in the process.
Medical Marijuana Has Obvious Benefits
It's evident that many people view marijuana as an inherently harmful substance, in spite of widespread evidence that it has significant medical benefits. Much of this is a consequence of its illegality. People assume that if something's illegal, then it must be because it's harmful.
It's time to end this misperception, and to stop placing parents in compromising situations simply because they desire to help their sick children.
Missy Miller, a mother from Atlantic Beach, New York, understands this notion perhaps better than anyone. Missy's son, Oliver, has a debilitating and complex medical condition that causes him to have hundreds of seizures every day. Medicinal marijuana could help improve his condition and ease his symptoms, but the government of New York has continued to delay the process by which people like Oliver could access this medicine.
Elite Daily spoke with Missy this past July about her and Oliver's struggles, which parallel the heartbreaking tale of Adam Koessler and Rumer:
Children should not have to suffer because of misguided and outdated policies combined with inefficient legislative procedures.
The War On Drugs Has Done More Harm Than Good
The prohibition of marijuana in the United States is a product of racial discrimination, misperceptions, propaganda and the failed War on Drugs. Correspondingly, with its power and prestige, the US has influenced policies and perceptions surrounding drug use and marijuana across the world. It's time for this to end.
Nearly 40 percent of Americans have admitted to trying pot. Given the unnecessary stigma surrounding marijuana use, it's also safe to say that many more have tried it, but are afraid to be honest and open about it.
Moreover, while alcohol and painkillers often lead to death, it's impossible to overdose on marijuana. This is not to say that everyone should be toking up 24/7, but it's obvious that many of the laws surrounding intoxicants are obviously misguided.
Different people react to different chemicals in different ways. Anyone who has ever taken anti-depressants, for example, might tell you that he or she had to try several different medications before finding the most effective one.
Simply put, marijuana is not for everyone; however, this is not a substantial enough reason to perpetuate its illegality. Alcohol and painkillers are readily available to most Americans, yet medical marijuana is only legal in 23 states and Washington DC.
At the same time, the majority of Americans believe that marijuana should be made legal in general, and it's time for the government to listen. Seventy percent of Americans believe that alcohol is more dangerous than weed, and there is widespread evidence to support this belief.
Moreover, a recent study has found that in states that allow access to medical marijuana, deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses have decreased by 25 percent. Prescription painkillers are extremely addictive, and if abused or mixed with alcohol or other over-the-counter drugs, they can lead to death.
As an alternative, marijuana is decidedly less addictive than painkillers and impossible to overdose on. Thus, marijuana is not only effective as a painkiller, it's also saving lives. Accordingly, if marijuana were accessible in more states for the treatment of chronic pain and other illnesses, the rate of overdoses from prescription medications would likely continue to drop.
Hence, it is apparent that there are a number of sound reasons to legalize marijuana and to allow access to medicinal marijuana. It is a substance with numerous health benefits, and legalization could generate billions of dollars in tax revenue. Moreover, law enforcement resources could be allocated more efficiently if they weren't utilized in relation to weed.
The legalization of marijuana would signify a positive step toward ending the futile and costly War on Drugs. Illegal and harmful substances should arguably be treated less like a criminal problem and more as a health problem. Portugal has experienced a great deal of success employing such policies.
Parents like Missy and Adam should not face punishment, or any obstacles for that matter, for attempting to ease the suffering of their children. This is understandably controversial given it involves children, but marijuana has obvious medical benefits and dosage can be controlled. This isn't about getting people high, it's about helping them.
It's time to move forward.