Currently in Mexico, where a debate over the legalization of marijuana is heating up, the Dalai Lama told an audience that he supports the medicinal use of the plant.
The Tibetan spiritual leader, speaking at an event hosted by former Mexican president Vicente Fox, said that "the exception" for smoking marijuana would be if it has pharmaceutical virtues.
"But otherwise if it's just an issue of somebody (using the drug to have) a crazy mind, that's not good," he said after being asked his position on legalization at the outdoor event at the ex-president's Fox Center in the central state of Guanajuato.
Over at the Buddhist Blog, James Ure offers the following in support of the Dalai Lama's comments:
For eons, marijuana has been used medicinally by humans to treat ailments. Historically, marijuana has been legal for use up till only recently. Ironically, legalizing marijuana will simply return it to its historical status of acceptability. Marijuana truly is a miracle drug as it alleviates so much suffering from a plethora of conditions. It helps relieve my chronic depression to the point of saving me from suicide a few times. In addition, medical marijuana blunts the aches and pains of my bursitis to enable my body to meditate properly. Why wouldn't compassionate-minded Buddhists support the use of a healing, natural, herbal, non-addictive medicine such as marijuana to treat symptoms of medical conditions?
As a non-user who doesn't have a personal stake in the plant's legality, I also support decriminalization. Billions of dollars have been spent across the continent in the futile war on drugs. We have prison cells filled with folks whose main or only crime is using and/or selling this plant. There is a heavy racial bias towards men in color particularly when it comes to arrests and incarceration, one symptom of a broader pattern of systemic racism that could be alleviated through decriminalization. Like alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition has only increased the power of drug gangs and cartels, while also providing governments across North and Central America an excuse to ramp up the militarization of law enforcement agencies.
All in all, prohibitions have been an immense failure. It's time for another way forward.