As the legal sales of recreational cannabis continue to sweep across his home state of Massachusetts, Democratic Representative Joe Kennedy III has made a bold move by urging the federal government to legalize marijuana for nationwide use. As revealed in an op-ed published in Stat (a health and life sciences publication) on Tuesday, Representative Kennedy announced his desire to make cannabis accessible to people across the United States without the concern of federal prohibition. Overall, in his recent report, Kennedy criticized Washington D.C.’s ability to make proper changes in our country by failing to legalize cannabis on the national level. Using the recent cases in three states (Michigan, Missouri, and Utah) as examples, he believes the progressive atmosphere in nearly half of our country should provide enough evidence for federal lawmakers to take action.
New Spin on Things
Interestingly, Kennedy did was never a staunch supporter for cannabis legalization. Over the years, he has been a skeptic due to his experience with mental health and addiction communities. During this time, Kennedy witnessed the terrible repercussions of excessive drug use and experienced the effects firsthand, as families were torn apart by this terrible illness. In fact, the representative also shared perceptions from mental health officials who believe marijuana could promote drug use and abuse.
So what made Kennedy change his mind? While he was worked with addiction victims, he has witnessed how marijuana has benefitted certain groups of people, like epileptic children or veterans. According to Kennedy, if the little green herb can ease their pain, patients should have easy access to it anywhere and at any time.
Overall, Kennedy has argued that overcoming cannabis prohibition can still have risks. According to the representative, legalization is not the answer to the problem. Criminal dealings and black markets will continue to exist, but federal legalization will help government officials control these illegal dealings much easier. During a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! back in April, Kennedy explained that the government must proceed with caution.
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