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Dope dispensaries? Not here, please

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Sep. 7, 2009 at 7:05 pm with 2 Comments »
October 7, 2009 5:09 pm

The best way to deal with weeds is to whack them before they go to seed. Prosecutors are doing pretty much that to marijuana dispensaries that have taken root in Spokane, of all places.

The Spokane County prosecutor’s office is pressing drug-dealing felony charges against a man busted last year with five pounds of marijuana in his home. Darren J. McCrea, 41, is the founder of SpoCannabis, a group that sells the drug to patients certified by doctors as eligible for medical marijuana.

Washington voters approved the medicinal use of cannabis in 1998 – but under tight restrictions.

California was already becoming notorious for effectively legalizing recreational dope-smoking through its extremely lax medical marijuana law. Washingtonians were offered their own loophole-riddled marijuana initiative in 1997, and they resoundingly rejected it.

The one they did pass the next year, Initiative 692, was explicitly designed to forbid the California-style dispensaries that operate like commercial marijuana shops. Its sponsors touted its safeguards, including a provision that let a “primary caregiver” provide limited amounts of marijuana to a patient under conditions that precluded drug-dealing.

The key language required a caregiver to “possess no more marijuana that is necessary for the patient’s personal, medical use” and “be the primary caregiver to only one patient at any one time.”

The meaning seems crystal clear: No multi-customer operations. But McCrea and other dispensary advocates have seized on those last four words. In their view, it sounds like, “any one time” means any time a buyer walks through the door.

Accept that logic, and Washington takes a long step toward the wide-open drug-dealing now rampant in California, where some compliant doctors hang out their shingles near dispensaries and pass out marijuana cards to anyone with a vaguely plausible physical complaint.

But the Spokane prosecutors take the law at face value. So do state officials. So, we hope, will the courts.

As California’s experience has shown, dispensaries can be Trojan horses of de facto marijuana legalization. Americans have been debating whether to decriminalize the drug for at least 40 years.

Advocates of the idea make some interesting libertarian arguments. But let’s have that debate out in the open. Decriminalization of marijuana should be decided on its own terms, not smuggled through the back door under the guise of medicine.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. reformedliberal says:

    “Advocates of the idea make some interesting libertarian arguments. But let’s have that debate out in the open. Decriminalization of marijuana should be decided on its own terms, not smuggled through the back door under the guise of medicine.”

    Interesting argument, taken in light of the TNT’s stance on the current debate regarding gay marriage.

  2. Debaters debate the two wars as if Nixon’s civil war on Woodstock Nation didn’t yet run amok. One need not travel to China to find indigenous cultures lacking human rights or to Cuba for political prisoners. America leads the world in percentile behind bars, thanks to ongoing persecution of hippies, radicals, and non-whites under banner of the war on drugs. If we’re all about spreading liberty abroad, then why mix the message at home? Peace on the home front would enhance global credibility.

    The drug czar’s Rx for prison fodder costs dearly, as lives are flushed down expensive tubes. There’s trouble on the border. My shaman’s second opinion is that psychoactive plants are God’s gift. God didn’t screw up. Canadian Marc Emery sold seeds that enable American farmers to outcompete cartels with superior domestic herb. He is being extradited to prison, for doing what government wishes it could do, reduce demand for Mexican.

    The constitutionality of the CSA (Controlled Substances Act of 1970) derives from an interstate commerce clause. Only by this authority does it reincarnate Al Capone, endanger homeland security, and throw good money after bad. Official policy is to eradicate, not tax, the number-one cash crop in the land. America rejected prohibition, but it’s back. Apparently, SWAT teams don’t need no stinking amendment. Father, forgive those who make it their business to know not what they do.

    Nixon promised that the Schafer Commission would support the criminalization of his enemies, but it didn’t. No matter, the witch-hunt was on. No amendments can assure due process under an anti-science law without due process itself. Psychology hailed the breakthrough potential of LSD, until the CSA halted all research and pronounced that marijuana has no medical use, period.

    The RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993) allows Native American Church members to eat peyote, which functions like LSD. Americans shouldn’t need a specific church membership to obtain their birthright freedom of religion. Denial of entheogen sacrament to any American, for mediation of communion with his or her maker, precludes free exercise of religious liberty.

    Freedom of speech presupposes freedom of thought. The Constitution doesn’t enumerate any governmental power to embargo diverse states of mind. How and when did government usurp this power to coerce conformity? The Mayflower sailed to escape coerced conformity. Legislators who would limit cognitive liberty lack jurisdiction.

    Common-law must hold that adults are the legal owners of their own bodies. The Founding Fathers decreed that the right to the pursuit of happiness is inalienable. Socrates said to know your self. Mortal lawmakers should not presume to thwart the intelligent design that molecular keys unlock spiritual doors. Persons who appreciate their own free choice of path in life should tolerate seekers’ self-exploration.

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