In the last couple of years dispensing medical mariajuana has moved out of dark alleys and into storefronts. As scientific research confirms its benefits, public perception appears to be warming up to the idea of cannabis as legitimate medication. In the near future this progress could lead to a stable industry that provides a secure source of a legitimate prescription medicine.
If only recreational pot users would stop sabotaging the program.
Medical marijuana remains a chaotic business model in large part because of the legalization advocates themselves. These folks - who are vocal, if nothing else – loudly denounce the criminalization of marijuana. They seek to compare the current criminal statutes as a modern day prohibition against a drug that, like alcohol, they feel should be a legal part of our society.
Whether they are right or wrong is a matter for either personal interpretation, public discussion or both. What is undoubtedly wrong in this equation, however, is the mad rush to obtain medical marijuana prescriptions by people whose chief objective is to get stoned.
Let’s be fair. One day people may wonder why using marijuana was ever considered to be any different than tossing back a cocktail. The passage of time has nullified the stigma of select social phenomena (rap music is now a staple at the Grammy’s) while stigmatizing others (smokers don’t feel the love anymore). If the past is any indication, marijuana may one day be a legal product. I’ll stick to beer, though, thanks.
The problem is that the future is not now. Now we have murky legislation that, at best, provides a slim loophole through which medical dispensaries have forced passage. Now these psuedo-pharmacies have set up websites, taken out newspaper ads, and hawked their wares on city streets (dressed in green scrubs, no less), all promising to provide a quick and easy medical marijuana permit. Transaction immediately following.
If you are a true proponent of medical marijuana – and after watching my mother-in-law suffer through chemo, I count myself one – then recognize that these recreational users are the real impediment to a safe, professional and wholly legal dispensary system.
The U.S. Attorney General’s Office apparently agrees. As a Trib article (5/1) relates, a deputy U.S. Attorney issued a warning to banks which “engage in transactions involving the proceeds” of marijuana sales, stating they “may be in violation of federal money-laundering statutes and other financial laws.”
Yes, these would be the same banks which allegedly violated numerous SEC regulations regarding mortgage loans, effectively sending the country into the Great Recession. We can laugh at the irony, but that won’t change the fact that marijuana dispensaries are finding it difficult or impossible to open bank accounts. Without those accounts, writing payroll checks, keeping accurate books and preparing taxes are impossible tasks.
That is truly unfortunate. With so many people looking for jobs, with tax revenues in the toilet, and with our government promising to facilitate new business, we need to take another look at marijuana as a suitable medical treatment. If indeed it is, then we should have the good grace, and good sense, to adjust our fiscal policies.
To move forward with medical marijuana, we need to realize that the real struggle is not with police officers who have sworn an oath to uphold the law. It is not a fight against prosecutors who are bound by their duty to prosecute the crimes that violate our laws. If anything, it is a matter for government officials who need to do a better job understanding the science and then acting upon the will of the people. They need to fix this mess.
In the meantime, those who obtained a medical marijuana permit without a vital need should return it. They are only raining on their own parade.