Sunday, January 24, 2010

Now let’s talk about something that I want to talk about: dying with dignity. This topic was introduced to us through the man who wanted to die because he was disabled. He makes the argument that his disability does not allow him to have dignity, because he is restricted from actions that a normal human should be allowed to choose to do. These actions include the ability to choose where to go, what to do, and, of course, die. In the modern times, dying with dignity is closely associated with the campaign for legalizing medical marijuana. The argument shifts into one that propose that any person should be able to live painlessly, choose to not be seen suffering, and choose to be able to control his/ her own body.
Marijuana as we all know it is a schedule one drug. This means that the Controlled Substance Act deems it as a drug with no medical purpose. Many of the proponents of medical marijuana wants this drug to move down to a schedule two drug, which is essentially the same as a schedule one, but it could be used under strict medical surveillance. But since this drug is schedule one, physicians are more reluctant to prescribe it in fear that their medical licenses would be taken away. Of course, Obama announced last year that he would not interfere with state laws if states do decide to legalize marijuana, but a few day after that announcement the federal government raided a marijuana dispensary in California. This event reinscribed the stigma of legality. The idea is that even if the states legalized marijuana, the federal government would always retain the rights to preempt the state’s ruling.
Before we can move on to how marijuana relates to dignity, we have to first define dignity. Dignity when taken in the sense of medical marijuana is the rights to choose. People say that the patients who need marijuana are in so much pain that their actions and decisions (whether be it aggression or suicide) are all dictated by pain and not rationality. Dignity in that sense is a state of selfhood. Where people could choose for themselves and live for themselves.
Now how does all of this relate to dignity? There is lots of evidence out there that indicate that marijuana is one of the most effective pain reliever. In that sense, people now have to look at the negative effects of marijuana, which the evidence dismisses as minimal. Though these assertions might be tailored toward legalization, there is one argument that I find very convincing. The argument is that people who suffer from the worst pains are those who are suffering from terminal diseases. Now if it is true that these diseases could not be cured, then wouldn’t it make sense to do all that is necessary to relieve the pain? Sadly, the nature of a schedule one means that even those who are terminally ill do not have access to these drugs. The argument here is that everyone has the rights to relieve their pains, the rights to be presentable to their families, and the rights to “pull the trigger”.

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