Has legalization/decriminalization of recreational cannabis led to changes in public perception of medicinal use?

Written by Asia Mayfield

Society’s perception of cannabis has changed dramatically in just a few years. The majority of the United States has a medical or recreational program. National lawmakers are urging Congress to shed the restrictive laws girding the cultivation, sale, and consumption of the plant.

This has had an interesting effect on society’s perception of medical cannabis. In a sense, cannabis has been legitimized. Medical patients were previously tarred with the same brush as recreational users. People who consumed cannabis, according to propaganda like Reefer Madness, were violent, unstable drug addicts. Now, everyone from soccer moms to famous athletes are opening up about their cannabis use.

There are many benefits to owning a medical card even if you live in a state with recreational use. New Mexico recently changed its legislation to allow non-residents to get medical cards. Arizona is considering adopting a similar law. “It’s appropriate that if patients are legally allowed to get access to medical cannabis in their home state, that when they’re traveling, they should be granted similar access,” Scottsdale Research Institute’s Dr. Sue Sisley explained.

Lawmakers are finally taking patients’ needs seriously when it comes to cannabis. However, the revolution is still underway. There are still anti-cannabis pockets in the U.S. where people are ardently fighting to block access to the plant. In Utah, a medical program barely made it into law after facing fierce opposition. The state is still squabbling over the details.

Meanwhile, an elderly woman was recently arrested at Florida’s Disney World for bringing CBD oil. “I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder… I use [CBD oil] for the pain because it helps,” the woman told a local news outlet.

The Southern States, by and large, have proven to be the most reluctant to embrace cannabis. However, that is slowly changing. Medical cannabis is likely to be approved before recreational because patients have clear needs beyond enjoying the experience. To people who don’t believe that cannabis should be consumed lightly, recreational use has a negative effect on society. Those same people may have a softer view toward medical cannabis, especially when they hear stories from people like the elderly woman who was treated like a criminal for using CBD oil to care for her arthritis.

Image source: Reason

About the author

Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield is a freelance writer who focuses on the cannabis industry. She can be reached at

Leave a Comment