Of late, while engaging in conversations about Vancouver’s regulation of dispensaries and the move to end prohibition, we’ve reiterated the need for more research and informed discussion on medical cannabis. This discourse needs to be led not only by organizations like The Green Cross Society but by academics, scientists, city planners, and community leaders as well. However, this conversation needs to be spread to and disseminated by the public, and in order for that to happen media outlets need to be responsible and give fair coverage to the discussion.
This month the respected seminal magazine National Geographic’s cover story is on cannabis and its science, and hopefully this will be a gateway article for other outlets to begin to spend more column inches and airtime on our medicine. “Science Seeks to Unlock Marijuana’s Secrets” by the lauded American historian and journalist Hampton Sides is an in-depth feature that explores aspects of cannabis and its science. It’s the kind of informed journalism that we wish bureaucrats and politicians would read instead of subscribing to tired and false arguments of reefer madness.
The piece begins with a simple yet absolute statement that reiterates a message we’ve been preaching Cannabis in Canada since our fight began: “There’s nothing new about cannabis, of course. It’s been around humankind pretty much forever.” But in order to quantify and qualify that trope, Sides speaks with a botanist, a chemist, a biochemist, a geneticist, and a caregiver. His journalism shows no bias, but instead investigates the plant in a virtuous and complete fashion.
The end of prohibition is near. But, as we’ve said before, the manner in which we end it is as important as its end. Journalistic efforts like Sides’ are paramount to our successful transition to legal access to our medicine. Is it too much to hope that Stephen Harper and Health Canada are National Geographic subscribers?