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Let’s talk about legalization

Special to The Prospector
Journalist Ana Lourdes Cardenas wrote “Marihuana: El Viaje a la Legalización” to inform readers about the process of legalizing marijuana.

“Marihuana: El Viaje a la Legalización,” a book written in Spanish by journalist Ana Lourdes Cardenas, touches on the complicated issue of cannabis and focuses on Colorado, the pioneer state in the legalization of the drug.

Cardenas has worked as a reporter, editor and producer for news outlets like The Dallas Morning News, CNN Mexico, El Paso Times, El Universal and many others. She is now a journalism professor at New Mexico State University.

This book is the result of her investigations in an effort to tell a more complete story on the legalization of marijuana. “The goal of my book is to inform people about the process of legalizing marijuana.

What are the consequences? What are the effects in the short run and in long run?” Cardenas said during an April 21 presentation of her book at Eloise, a restaurant in west El Paso. “I am not an advocate of marijuana, nor an opponent of marijuana, my book is to inform and my hope is that many countries in Latin America that are facing these problems with marijuana can learn some of the lessons from Colorado.”

This book captures the reader’s attention, so no matter if people are completely for or against legalization, they should consider reading the book. Before they read the book, they need to make sure to do research and get some facts so they can form an honest opinion.

Mexico is one of the Latin American countries that could benefit from the information in Cardenas’ book. Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, announced on April 21 that he would ask Mexico’s congress to legalize the use of medical marijuana and decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of weed. If Mexican officials read this book, they could learn about some of the obstacles that Colorado has faced before making a move that could negatively affect Mexico.

“De planta maldita a regalo de Dios,” or “Cursed plant: a gift from God,” the fourth chapter of the book, talks about ailing patients who have tried cocktails full of different medicines without any benefit. One story is about a young girl who, at the age of 2, was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a type of epilepsy that caused her to have 300 seizures per week or one every 15 minutes.

She couldn’t eat or walk by herself and was treated with cannabidiol, an oil made from the marijuana plant, which proved effective. Her seizures decreased dramatically. Stories such as this can make a reader, who may have been opposed to legalization, reconsider their stance on the drug.

The stories open people’s minds to the possibilities that legalization provides.

Staying true to her journalistic roots, Cardenas made sure to keep the book unbiased and infused the pages with contrasting voices, including some who spoke about marijuana’s negative effects. Howard Campbell, professor and chair of the sociology and anthropology department, was at the book presentation to give his take on the subject.

“I think it’s an outstanding book,” Campbell said. “We need real underground studies, which this book provides.” In the book, a former undercover officer said that if marijuana is taken from the power of cartels, those cartels would start to look at different types of drugs to smuggle across the border. A doctor also provided statistics as to how many children went to hospitals due to accidental ingestions of edible marijuana products.

These two arguments are helpful because it makes you think about the negative outcomes. The book has many statistics and some terminology that can overwhelm the reader, but if read with patience, the percentages and terms will become very useful tools when a person starts looking for a stance on this issue.

The use of so many names, numbers, places, people and laws makes the reader understand that weed is not only just about the stereotypical hippie culture.

Cardenas allows you to open your eyes and see some of the ways marijuana can be legalized at the recreational and medical levels. The marijuana industry is growing at a rapid pace, and laws and politicians have to keep up with the demands of the people and this book makes that clear.

Overall, this is a book that speaks to those who reject and promote laws concerning marijuana.

This is also a book that covers statistics, arguments for and against, as well as the outcomes of making marijuana a legal product. The ultimate goal of the book is to provide people with information on a complicated topic that requires time and hard work to understand.

This book allows people to see beyond their initial thoughts. Rene Delgadillo may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Rene Delgadillo, Multimedia Editor
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