By Janna Champagne, BSN, RN
Being in the state of Oregon, and having recreational laws in place, we are pretty spoiled in our ability to access good quality cannabis. Anyone over 21 can grow 4 plants of their own, or access cannabis without any paperwork required. Medical cannabis laws are well-established here, and every cannabis product in an Oregon dispensary has been lab tested for optimal product safety and individual medical application. We are one of the more progressive states in that regard, and now that I’m working with clients in other states and internationally, I realize how much progress is still needed in regards to quality cannabis accessibility. Despite the progress in my local area, from a worldview cannabis patient’s rights are still in their infancy stage. As a cannabis nurse, I’m dedicated to advocating for medical cannabis progress, and through education and sharing reputable medical cannabis research, we continue to exemplify to the world that access to cannabis should be reinstated as a basic human right.
Ongoing legislative change is needed to improve medical cannabis access and affordability, with special focus on preserving medical cannabis patient autonomy — the right to choose their preferred medicine. Federal deregulation of cannabis would facilitate a broad reaching legislative paradigm shift, alleviating the need to pursue state by state changes to ensure medical cannabis access. Despite more than half of the states in our union having adopted medical cannabis laws, many patients are still required to either relocate or face potential legal ramifications in order to use their optimal formulation of cannabis as medicine. Our federal government’s current stance is not sustainable, and their double standard of holding the patent for cannabis as medicine while concurrently designating that cannabis has no medicinal value — criteria for current Schedule I placement — is doomed to fail under increasing popular demand. Every American successfully educated by a knowledgeable nurse about the medical safety and efficacy of medical cannabis is another vote for federal deregulation, and another nudge toward this inevitable outcome that will benefit many cannabis patients in the future.