Richard Cowan is a former National Director of NORML, and co-founder of CBD Seniors.

My concern about children in this context is that their parents should not be arrested. The idea that there are medications that work with pediatric conditions, as in, these horrible situations where babies have seizures every few minutes from the time they’re born and how they and their parents survive is beyond my comprehension. I think that under the circumstances, arresting them would not be in the best interest of the children. Well, that seems absurd to say, but up until very recently, this has been the policy of the United States and the United Kingdom and other places as well.

What do you do when you have a sick child? If whatever the condition the child has is not responding to standard medicine, what do you do? Obviously, parents would do anything to help their children, including risking arrest, including risking having their child taken away from them by child protective services. This is both a medical problem and a philosophical problem in the sense that it really does raise very fundamental questions about the relationship of parents to their children. On the other hand, you don’t want parents who are crazy abusing their child in the name of protecting them. Recently, we ran into this thing, for example, when parents refused to get their children vaccinated because they read on the Internet that vaccinations caused autism. This is a very complex problem that we have to deal with. But the key part about dealing with this is to (don’t sound too controversial) deal with it honestly. We haven’t dealt with any aspects of cannabis, honestly. It is horrible to threaten the parents of a sick child with prison for using CBD.

Looking for information about COVID-19 and marijuana? Visit!

I received a phone call one time from a woman whose elderly father was going through cancer, chemo, and as a result was vomiting nonstop. Eventually, someone suggested that they try marijuana and they did. He stopped vomiting and felt much better. So, she was calling me – I happened to be the National Director of NORML at the time – because she wanted to ask me how much danger there was of him dying of an overdose. Think about that in the context of the opposite ends of life, that you have a parent watching a baby suffer. You have a grown elderly daughter watching her father suffer. What do these two things have in common? They are totally different diseases and totally opposite ends of life. What they have in common is the lie, the lies that have been told about cannabis and which are still a part of United States government policy. It’s still a part of the Trump administration, as it was in the Obama administration. People identify George W. Bush with the lies that got us into Iraq, but they don’t involve the lies that were told and justified the arrest of a million Americans while he was president. Oh, and of course, Barack Obama, who always stood up, really brought the reality of African-American life to the American republic and made us aware of the injustices that have fallen on African-Americans. And then we continued arresting young and African-Americans for possession of marijuana – hundreds of thousands, while our very cool president was being cool.

And now we have a president who denounces conspiracies, who thought Jeff Sessions was a disastrous attorney general and who is contemptuous of authority, generally, and who wants to continue marijuana prohibition. So what do all of these people have in common? Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump. What do they have in common? What is the woman whose father is dying of cancer and the parent whose child is having endless seizures have in common? Marijuana prohibition. But let’s not talk about it.

Find out more about Richard’s thoughts on CBD & THC at CBD Seniors.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.