Saturday, March 19, 2016

Guest Post- Brian Laslow

I am excited to have Brian Laslow here today. For those of you who do not know him he writes The Marijuana Project( A Novel about medicine and mortality).

Hi Brian, Welcome, so glad you can stop by today.

The Need for Enough Book Research

By: Brian Laslow

One day there I was, a self-employed security consultant sitting in his basement office working on who knows what when the phone rang. A potential client asked me if I wanted to discuss working with him developing the security program for a new medical marijuana production facility in my state. I didn’t even know my state had passed a law legalizing medical marijuana. After verifying this was the case and debating whether or not this was the kind of client I wanted, I found myself imbedded in the medical marijuana industry.

After a short time while I was developing an appropriate security program for the facility, I began to realize that the medical marijuana debate was a more controversial one that I had previously known. Perhaps I just didn’t pay attention before then, but I began to read and see more about the issue and the debate than before. I certainly was in the middle of a timely subject matter. Separately, many people over the years have told me that they found my work as a security consultant fascinating. It occurred to me that the combination of the two would make an interesting story. That began the adventure of my writing the fiction based on fact novel The Marijuana Project. My goal became to write a novel entailing a fun suspense story that included security elements and the ethical dilemma surrounding the medical marijuana debate.

When I started I knew I had the security knowledge I needed and also believed that I understood enough about the medical marijuana debate to make it work. After all, how complicated could it be? I was wrong. Most of the book was written while the medical marijuana production facility was my client, and my experiences there more and more over time made it clear to me that I knew very little. My education about the positives and negatives about the industry from those hands on experiences as well as the detailed independent research I conducted as a result of the realization that I knew little resulted in me developing a detailed outline of the pros and cons.

The pro medical marijuana position is generally easy to understand. Based on the overwhelming anecdotal evidence and testimonials, there can be absolutely no doubt that medical marijuana can be of great help as a medicine to counteract the effects of certain diseases if not the diseases themselves. Not uncommon diseases either but diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and PTSD. To deny that treatment option in some cases, especially when dealing with children, is easily seen as cruel at best.

The cons to medical marijuana may be more complex, but no less legitimate. Because marijuana is still a federal Schedule 1 drug, there has been no legitimate medical research performed using proper double blind studies to show what strains of marijuana with what relative percentages of CBD and THC and in what doses is effective for the treatment of what diseases at what stages. How can the medical establishment as a whole be compelled to prescribe and support such medication, especially when doctors are being sued every day for bogus malpractice. It’s also hard to blame the federal legislature for not changing the law when law enforcement is telling them what the consequences are for another addictive drug hitting the street in force, especially with it’s debatable potential as a gateway drug.

The sad thing about it all is that I believe most Americans are in favor of legalization of medical marijuana, but not necessarily recreational marijuana, and want the issue to be resolved. This is certainly not an unreasonable position. The issue is far from resolved and meanwhile, real patients are suffering that could be helped. What I would like to do is put both sides in a room and lock the door until a solution is found, but that is not reality.

So, is this what I expected to find when I decided to embark on my book adventure? Lot by a long shot. It appeared at the beginning to be a simpler debate. If I had not done the proper amount of research, including talking and learning from those involved, and performing time consuming reading, the quality of my work would not be the same. Anyone with more than the rudimentary knowledge of the ethical debate that I had in the beginning would see right through it. Not a formula for good reviews. In the end, because I recognized the need for enough research, I accomplished my goal to accurately and effectively describe the ethical dilemma surrounding medical marijuana in my fiction based on fact novel. I am fortunate I didn’t learn that lesson too late.

Brian Laslow is the author of The Marijuana Project: a novel about medicine and morality. He has over 25 years of experience in the security field and holds multiple certifications. Since 2001, he has been an independent security consultant providing risk assessment, system design, project management, and ongoing security management services for a wide range of commercial, industrial, and government clients. The Marijuana Project is his debut novel.

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