The war on marijuana has failed and Ohioans must challenge marijuana laws


Unresolved trauma and conflict is the root of all disease. Substance abuse is a disease. Addiction is a component of disease. There is no gene that gives a person addiction. The pathway to addiction and substance abuse is a learned behavior. Scholars are studying how poor rural white people are losing hope and turning to drugs. In the absence of community and conventional leadership, folks are turning to unconventional methods of self-destruction.

A majority of the people I have interviewed from within the heroin addiction epidemic in rural Ohio, after a lengthy conversation, are able to pinpoint an exact moment in their lives when a traumatic or conflicting event paved the way for their turn towards opioid addiction.

A frequent cause of substance abuse is the loss of a parent. The loss of a loved one to cancer or a sudden and unexpected event. The loss of a job and the loss of a person’s feeling of belonging in the community are contributing factors to addiction, as are the feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy of growing up in an impoverished, rural community and not having the opportunities that those with privilege are given.

There is hope. Technological advances coming towards us in manufacturing are so great and awesome that it will transform the state of Ohio if people can learn to accept the changes.

Accept moving away from and divesting out of coal power into cleaner renewable energy. Accept that the manufacturing of combustion engines will soon end and the manufacturing of electric engines will begin. Accept driver-less cars and cargo freight transportation guided by satellite navigation systems. Accept fully-automated grocery stores and services.

Accept all of this, and once people are freed from their enslavement in the low-paying shackles of the manufacturing and service industries, the true healing in our state will begin. The radical idea of using medical marijuana to combat the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic will eventually prove itself to be a success if the government allows it to be used for that reason. Do not be disillusioned that this power concentrated into the hands of the wealthy few will create a lot of long-term jobs for folks in Ohio. Medical marijuana can be automated in design from growth to final trimming and sale.

The United States government Health and Human Services Department holds the patent on the active compounds in marijuana, cannabinoids, the same compounds that, when studied, prove to reverse cancer cells into normal cells. (Look online for the full feature documentary, The Story of Rick Simpson: Run From the Cure).

Hemp, the non-psychoactive fiber of the marijuana plant, can alone transform the forest and paper industry and move manufacturing away from logging deciduous trees to harvesting hemp plants.

The healthcare industry is a multi-trillion dollar industry. The forest and paper industries alone are responsible for $200 billion in the GDP annually. The recent Ohio medical marijuana laws need to be challenged and shaped to reflect what the people of Ohio need the most right now: a sense of belonging, a stable workforce with good paying jobs, control of their own healthcare, and the ability to control the way their community contributes to the strengthening of the economy.

There is no evidence that marijuana is harmful. Children whose mothers used marijuana during pregnancy are born with higher intelligence. Because marijuana is non-addictive, it can be used for relaxation and to numb pain without long-term dangerous side effects. Despite the misconception, marijuana is not a gateway drug. However, the government continues to classify marijuana to be just as dangerous as heroin but unlike with heroin, nobody has ever overdosed on marijuana and died.

As a conscientious observer while traveling, I talked to police officers in states where marijuana is legalized and where the people have control of the marijuana industry. The police officers said they are amazed that they themselves now make more money growing marijuana than working for the police department and so some of them do both. The ones who do both are not complaining about the additional $70,000 or more they profit a year growing marijuana.

Now that the war on marijuana has failed epically, communities must collectively come together and move forward to assure a vibrant and positive future for Ohio. The people need to voice and lobby for the communities, not the state and a select few, to control the industry. The people can use this industry to heal and transform their issues on their own without the long-reaching arm of the government writing ridiculous parameters on marijuana into our state Constitution to monitor each person’s individual freedoms.

By Ashley Bunton

Staff Columnist

Ashley may be contacted by email at [email protected] or by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching for @ashbunton