Most Americans know how ubiquitous pot growing is in Northern California, if only due to Showtime's Weeds. When it comes to growing, there's a fine line between what's legal and what's not. But ever since 1996, there hasn't been a question in California about the use of the drug for medical purposes. For 15 years, medical marijuana has been legal and is typically distributed in legit marijuana dispensaries in the state. You cannot purchase medical pot without a card that you receive from a doctor. The presence of such dispensaries has even reduced the number of street dealers of marijuana, which in turn prevents kids and people without a prescription from buying the drug.
But as we all know, medical marijuana is NOT legal under federal law. The conflict has remained, for the most part, under the radar ... until last week. Federal officials sent warning letters to dozens of California dispensaries telling them to shut down in the next 45 days or risk arrest and property seizure.
Wow, of the gazillion issues we're contending with on a national level, what a battle for the federal government to wage!! Not only does this raise lots of concerns and issues with the federal government stepping on a state's toes, but it's not like California dispensaries pose an out-of-control and blatantly illegal threat, like the prevalence of cocaine in Miami in the '80s. There are MANY legitimate uses for medical marijuana, and for some people, it's their only hope.
Medical marijuana is a safe, effective treatment for cancer patients undergoing chemo, patients with multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, glaucoma, epilepsy, chronic pain due to arthritis, migraines, menstrual cramps. In California, people ailing from all of these health concerns and more are able to obtain a medical marijuana card and lead much more normal, healthy lives than they would otherwise.
It's just plain sick, heartless, AND irresponsible for the fed to attack facilities providing these patients with their natural drug of choice, which, might I note, beats many prescription (oh, hello, Big Pharma!) or even over-the-counter drugs that can lead to dependency or extreme side effects.
The fed's excuse for the crackdown is that the dispensaries take it too far, by selling the drug in "candy" forms, like lollipops! GASP. (Err, maybe because some people would prefer not to smoke their prescription?) And oh no, they're making a profit!! Oh, wait ... don't the same drug companies that push cancer-causing synthetic hormones or narcotic or opiate painkillers make a HUGE profit, too?
There are just so many issues with this. If dispensaries are closed, will patients who rely on medical marijuana be forced to buy it illegally again? How is that going to better the situation? It simply won't. The fed is simply starting a fire for no good reason at all, and it's going to come at the expense of the seriously ill. This battle that's been waged is nothing short of nonsensical and unjust.
What do you think about the fed's threat? Do you support the legalization of medical marijuana?
Image via Dominic Simpson/Flickr