Advocates for medical marijuana have made great progress in the last few years.
Several states, including Washington, have taken varied steps towards legalizing medical cannabis, and public sentiment is not inclined to throw a wrench in the works.
But the actions of a growing number of pot heads could change that.
An investigative journalism piece by the Trib’s Rob Carson (10/2) shed some light on a growing phenomenon- modern day carpetbaggers setting up marijuana permitting clinics in Tacoma. Medical credentials aside, the aim of these individuals and their storefronts is to churn out a high volume of marijuana permits whether or not their patients’ needs are legally valid.
Like dope dealers everywhere, these individuals are all about skirting the law in the name of profit.
Carson’s insightful report demonstrates that new laws and restrictions drafted for patients in need of pain reduction or relief from chemotherapy-induced nausea is now catering to people only interested in smoking marijuana for the high.
The new clinics set up to issue marijuana use permits appear to exist as a rubber stamp shop for anyone looking to purchase marijuana legally. In at least one case that can be accomplished by walking to the dispensary next door.
The individuals involved in this charade do not come across well. One subject issuing medical permits quoted in Carson’s article states he “does his best to comply with state law.” That sounds more like a plea for leniency in a sentencing hearing than the business plan of a law-abiding medical professional.
In a greedy head-rush, one canna-businessman (I need to patent that term) was said, “There is big freaking money in this thing.” The “thing” to which he was referring was the $99 cost for medical marijuana permits, the so-called green card.
What is clear is that genuine advocates and legitimate patients of medical marijuana are being overwhelmed in number by recreational marijuana smokers. These habitual users are pushing and shoving at a legal doorway that the legislature has thus far only cracked open.
One can hardly argue their enthusiasm, but it could end up being costly.
The issue comes down to perception. If the people choose to legalize medical marijuana, thereby upending decades of cultural beliefs and drug laws, many of them will want reassurance that the law extends only to chronicallly ill patients.
On the other hand, if it becomes clear that the medical marijuana legislation was merely a ruse–a ruse that now gives ethically challenged medical professionals and pot growers a constant source of cash–then the voters might get pissed off.
Marijuana advocates should consider these missteps, because the door of legalization swings both ways.