By TexMed Ventures

Two in Three Americans Now Support Legalizing Marijuana. A new high in Gallup’s trend over nearly half a century, sixty-six percent of Americans now support legalizing cannabis. The latest figure marks the third consecutive year that support on cannabis has increased and established a new record. As legalization continues to expand across the US, the numbers are expected to continue to increase as medical cannabis becomes more popular and accepted.

Legalizing the use of “pot” was not popular when Gallup first asked Americans about it in 1969. Support grew in the 1970s (during the Nixon Presidency) but stagnated in the 20% range after Nixon set up the Schedule 1 status making cannabis a prison offense, and through the Reagan “Just Say No” era until the new millennium. Since 2000, support for legalizing marijuana has continued to trend steeply upward, reaching majority support for the first time in 2013, a year after Colorado and Washington voters legalized recreational use of marijuana. Marijuana use continues to be illegal at the federal level, but as of Dec 20th, 2018 when President Trump signed the Farm Bill legalizing commercial hemp and officially taking CBD off of the schedule status all together.

Among Republicans, Newfound Majority Support for Legalization Remains

Support for legalization in the U.S. has continued to grow, even as ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to crack down on marijuana at the federal level. But now that Sessions was forced to resign, nobody expects any further resistance from Federal jurisdiction. President Trump undermined his attorney general’s pledged mission over the summer when he indicated he would likely support a bill to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies, but no action has yet to be taken. Sessions’ opposition to legalization is further undercut by shifts in attitudes among his own political party. Gallup found last year that a slim majority of Republicans supported legal marijuana for the first time, and this year’s figure, 53%, suggests continued Republican support. Now that many “traditional” (aka older) politicians are replaced by a new “pro canna-choice” generation, we expect to see cannabis acceptance to continue gaining momentum. In fact, so much momentum that special interest corporations that have been trying to keep cannabis contained (pharma, oil/gas, cotton, paper, chemical, plastics…) will never be able to put the tiger back in the cage.

Views that cannabis should be legalized have also reached new peaks this year among Democrats (75%) and independents (71%). Democrats reached majority-level support for legalization in 2009, and independents did so in 2010.

Majority of Older U.S. Adults Now Support Legal Cannabis

Among Americans aged 55 and older, views that marijuana should be legalized now surpass the majority level, with 59% support, up from 50% last year. In fact, these statistics shouldn’t be a big surprise since Medicare patients are the fastest growing population of medical cannabis users in the US.

Meanwhile, solid majorities of younger adults have supported legalization for several years. Support is strongest among adults aged 18 to 34, at 78%, while nearly two in three adults aged 35 to 54 (65%) approve of legalizing marijuana.

Cannabis Becomes More Popular Each Year

Increased popularity also brings increased curiosity and increased demand.

There are two main paradigm shifts simultaneously working here – cannabis is becoming more popular and accepted, and pharmaceutical drugs are becoming more scrutinized and resisted. This puts healthcare providers directly in the crosshairs.

To add insult to injury, access to the internet has provided patients suffering from any given disease or chronic condition the ability to Google “cannabis, cancer” and find information at their fingertips or in the palm of their hands. This allows patients to become better “cannabis vs cancer” experts than doctors! Doctors normally do not take the time to research on-line data, and they also don’t normally accept “google searches” as bonafide clinical research.

In Texas, where medical cannabis for anything other than epilepsy is still considered illegal, this brings up a strange situation between the patient-doctor privilege. Patients with a chronic issue like pain, cancer, lupus, HIV or depression might ask their doctor “what about cannabis as a therapy?” This puts a doctor in a difficult situation to answer the patient “legally” or “truthfully.”

Many doctors might just say “That is a Schedule 1 substance which is currently illegal in the state of Texas. I legally cannot recommend an illegal option without risking my medical license.”

Even if doctors truly wanted to offer medical cannabis as an alternative therapy, the doctor-patient-privilege is at jeopardy, and doctors are woefully uninformed as far as cannabinoid science anyway. So expecting a Texas licensed doctor to offer cannabis as a natural alternative meets heavy resistance.

The only way this issue can change is for Texas politicians to vote “green” under a very controlled model that allows doctors be in charge of a patients medical choices – not politicians.  In order for a “doctor managed model” to work properly, two things need to happen:

  1. Doctors need to have full and complete understanding of cannabis and the human Endocannabinoid system. To have the knowledge required to handle patients and cannabis prescriptions, Texas needs to offer doctors a state approved CME accreditation program offered by the state of Texas so doctors (and other healthcare providers such as DO’s, RN’s, NP’s and PA’s) can become “Texas Certified” for medical cannabis.
  2. Once properly trained on cannabinoid medicine, doctors need access to medical grade products through a credible source with product quality control. The only way to guarantee such quality is to prescribe cannabis based medication from a cannabis trained pharmacy, not a dispensary. Pharmacies have professionally trained healthcare providers. Nobody wants their medication advice from a tattooed dude with a nose ring and ear-loops saying “Here’s you medicine, bro!”

Currently, a pharmacy model does not exist in Texas, which is why LoneStar Life Sciences is already in development of the TexMed Foundation for Compassionate Care. TMFCC will be the first medical cannabis medical association in the state of Texas and will develop a very detailed and thorough training platform for healthcare providers that also offers CMEs (continuing education credits). The TMFCC membership will be $35 per month, will be affiliated with other medical associations in the state, and will be launching our own medical cannabis magazine for medical providers all throughout the state, MD420.

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