Blue Byline

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Medical marijuana legislation is dazed and confused

Post by Brian O'Neill on May 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm with 9 Comments »
June 3, 2011 10:06 pm

“Congress should definitely consider decriminalizing possession of marijuana….We should concentrate on prosecuting the rapists and burglars who are a menace to society.” -U.S. Representative Dan Quayle, March 1977

If you are old enough to recall some of Dan Quayle’s head-scratching remarks (such as “For NASA, space is still a high priority”) the above comment might explain a lot. What it fails to explain is the rigid stance against marijuana by federal politicians both then and now.

The fact is that some form of every hard core drug from heroin to cocaine to methamphetamine is available by prescription at your local pharmacy. Though possession of even trace amounts of these controlled substances amounts to a felony crime, a small amount of marijuana equates to a simple misdemeanor. Whether we accept that marijuana is the smoking version of alcohol or a narcotic that should remain on the list of controlled substances, overwhelming evidence suggests it also has a part to play as a prescribed drug.

Unfortunately, the current state of medical marijuana legislation here in Washington (see Trib article) has criminal justice officials and medical marijuana dispensers both convinced that their polar opinions are correct.

Even for people like me who have never smoked a joint the legislative debacle has widespread ramifications, as evidenced by these two unrelated events.

About two years ago my wife called and said she had an appointment that evening at a medical marijuana dispensary. Though it was in a rough part of  Tacoma, she was prepared to do what had to be done to fill a prescription written by her mother’s oncologist (marijuana has been shown to stimulate the appetite for people underoing chemotherapy treatment).  I was told, both by my police commander and a worker at the dispensary, that my presence at the location was not permitted. Thus, I sat outside in my car, in the dark, and thought of several safer and more efficient ways of having my wife get her mother some pot.

The other incident involved a woman who had been given a prescription allowing her to grow several marijuana plants for “personal use.” Her home had been invaded by gang members, one of whom placed a gun to her head. The increase in legally endorsed home grow operations has ramped up these violent types of crimes, especially when the victims make their business known by selling some of their product. Although I doubt the legislature intended to create a scenario where a woman and her small child were terrorized by gunmen over a bundle of medical marijuana, that is precisely what happened.

It is clear that the legislature and the governor have badly screwed up our state’s gradual transition to legalized medical marijuana. At this point the situation is so ridiculous that discussing the future of marijuana–legalization or not–remains moot.  There’s plenty of time for that discussion when a safer and saner method of dispensing medical marijuana is implemented in Olympia.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. rivitman says:

    Look, Most people would favor medical pot if it was limited to legitimate patients. (i’m unconvinced however)

    The fact is, it’s not, and the medical pot issue is a red herring for for the full legalization crowd. Sure the ill and thier loved ones may need it, but the majority in and most vocal in favor just want to get high.

    It is they, in fact, who are getting in the way of medical pot the most. Not the prohibitionists. It’s like asking a group of criminals to endorse a pro gun bill in the legislature.

    We know how Florida is the number one state for the Iighly questionable prescription and distribution of oxycodone.

    Well, I picked up a a well known advertising paper/publication at the grocery store the other day, and the full back page was covered with so called medical dispensers of pot, and those with prescriptive authority seemingly willing to prescribe on very thin medical evidince of need.

    Washington seems to have self nominated for the florida of weed.

    As long as pot is an illeagal narcotic under federal law, the Gov was correct in not exposing public employees to potential federal prosecution when trying to regulate medical pot.

    Without regulation, it’s party time for the dope trade, operating in the grey area between legal/illegal. In the meantime, the medico’s that prescribe this stuff should self police and come up with a standard to meet other than “my back hurts”.

  2. fatuous says:

    The medical marijuana crowd keeps barking up the wrong tree. The federal government controls prescription drugs.

    If you want to make marijuana a prescription drug, go through the federal government.

  3. notSpicoli says:

    Interesting. The TNT has played an enormous part in creating this situation by its snarky, sarcastic, and inappropriate (in tone) and repeated editorials on this subject.

    Cannabis will soon be rescheduled by the feds.

    “The Drug Enforcement Administration…[revealed that] 55 unnamed companies now hold licenses to grow cannabis in the United States.”

    Acting on that “requires the DEA to move organic THC down from Schedule I, where it is now, to Schedule III, where synthetic THC Marinol currently is. According to DEA records, drug companies have requested just such a rescheduling. It appears as if they’re likely to get it at any time, green-lighting a new generation of prescription pot pill farms.” (EastbayExpress)

  4. BlaineCGarver says:

    In the Old Hippy Days, pot was a friendly deal with a buddy who knew someone and bought a pound, and split it up for not much profit among his buddies. The main problem I have now (aside from not wanting to have an arrest record) is the violence and gangs that control the distribution these days. I would vote to legalize it, and have no penalty for personal amount growing and use. Back in the day, the tokers went home and ordered pizza…the drunks were the rowdy ones beating on their friends and family.

  5. Omega6234 says:

    If we legalized it, do you know how many ghetto gang members would lose their income?? Who would buy all the purple jump suits, along with the latest Lebron shoes?? No more 22″ rimz on the chrysler 300M!!! What a travesty. Legalize it already. Then go after the real problem.. gangs.

  6. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    I, too, am fine with legalized pot for those who want to use it. Legalize heroin too, I don’t care. But, no cover of medical necessity without the FDA, pharmacy board, real prescriptions, standards and controls, treatment efficacy established by science, etc. No phony prescription is needed for Miller Beer, so cut the crap with other drugs, make ‘em legal or not.

  7. Find and sign Initiative 1149 repeals prohibition same model as alcohol.
    I am sure that politicos did not think any of this through, even if you use recommended remember it is not prescribed marijuana you will lose your job. Sick and Broke.

  8. jimkingjr says:

    It wasn’t the Legislature and the Governor who fouled up on medical marijuana- it was the “let’s legalize it under the guise of medical pot” crowd with their rush to open commercial dispensaries in the past year, as well as the lily-livered law enforcement types in Seattle and Tacoma who support legalization and bought into this game.

    It’s a game, we all know it, and none of this is truly about medical needs- except for self-medication.

  9. Brian O'Neill says:

    Obviously there are side issues related to medical marijuana besides the faulty legislative process that Olympia politicians have foisted on us for yet another session. What I never thought I would hear about was “lily-livered law enforcement types in Seattle and Tacoma who support legalization…” Say what? To be honest, the politics at police departments (I’ve worked at three) is conservative. We’re paid to hook people up when they violate the law and that’s just what we do.

    It is entirely reasonable to criticize the current state of medical marijuana legislation whether or not you support full legalization. But to suggest that a number of cops openly support the legalization? I think you’re high.

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