Have you heard of the ice bucket challenge? Probably. You get a bucket of ice dumped on you and/or donate money to the ALS Association. The social media sensation has helped raised $23 million for ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) since July 23 and brought attention to a fatal and not well understood neurodegenerative disease. Even George W. Bush had a bucket of ice dumped on him by his wife, and has challenged (challenging someone after you've completed the ice bucket challenge is how it became viral) Bill Clinton to do the same thing.
Despite those whose first instinct is to criticize, the ice bucket challenge has done a great job raising money and awareness. One aspect of the fight against ALS, however, hasn't gotten as much attention, and that's the plight of ALS patients who use medical marijuana to slow the disease's progression and alleviate their pain. Even though recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington and both recreational and medical marijuana are decriminalized to one extent or another in numerous jurisdictions around the country, drug warriors on the policy and law enforcement side continue to target medical marijuana users.
Here's one example, from Florida last year, a state now considering legalizing medical marijuana. Via the Tampa Bay Times:
It seems a real estate agent had been checking out a house next door when she spotted marijuana plants growing in the back yard of Bob and Cathy Jordan.
Several deputies, detectives and undercover narcotics cops in ski masks later, two mature plants and various seedlings were confiscated, and the case was turned over to the State Attorney's Office to determine if charges are to be brought against Ma and Pa Jordan.
This would almost be comical if Bob was not worried it might lead to his wife's death.
Charges against the Jordans were eventually dropped. Cathy is a long time medical marijuana activist and had a 2013 bill in Florida to legalize it named after her. The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to raid medical marijuana dispensaries around the country, even in states where recreational marijuana is legal. Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, with the government denying any possible medical or other benefits to using it.