I am generally a “news-junkie”. I watch several news stations, read websites and magazines, and usually drive my wife and daughter a little nuts. One of the most amazing things to me in a remarkable election season is that politicians are ignoring issues for seniors. Social Security, Medicare, and health care in general are three of the five most expensive pieces of federal and state budgets, and are rarely mentioned.
My political memory pretty much starts with Ronald Reagan, and one of the certainties of politics in my lifetime has been that senior citizens have an outsized impact on elections because they are most likely to follow the news and vote. I have expected since I was in my 20’s that the baby boom generation would only make that influence greater. However, all the talk of this election cycle is about the Millenials. The first time voters that fueled Bernie Sanders.
I mention this on a medical marijuana site for seniors because I am frankly shocked. Politics rarely surprises me anymore. This time, I am continually surprised.
1) Senior Health
There are serious and legitimate debates about the ability of medical marijuana to treat complicated medical illnesses. Even opponents, however, agree that it’s an effective pain reliever with few side effects. Seniors have more aches and pains, and take more expensive prescription drugs than any other group.
2) Health Care Costs
Seniors more acutely feel the impact of rising health care costs. They are also the fastest growing group of new users of medicinal cannabis. It makes sense. Medical marijuana is an inexpensive and fast growing plant, and can be affordably produced. The taxes generated by the sales of medicinal cannabis have already helped many states to support existing medical programs.
3) Political Courage
I believe that the reason that medical marijuana is almost completely absent from the national election cycle is that it is too complicated. This years’ presidential election is always about simple. I would complain, but I know better.
This battle will be fought on the local level until so many states approve of medical cannabis, that the Federal Government can’t ignore it anymore. When that happens, the Fed will need to approve the research that is badly needed to make this the medicine that virtually all responsible medical practitioners believe it can be.