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Easy green cards have discredited medical pot

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on Oct. 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm with 4 Comments »
October 5, 2011 6:03 pm

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Restoring credibility to medical marijuana in Washington will require separating drug-seekers from the seriously ill people who may genuinely need it.

Anyone who cares about the latter should be anxious to prevent recreational users and abusers from discrediting the whole system – as is happening in Tacoma on a large scale.

For the last two years, pot-lovers across the state have found it increasingly easy to get the so-called green cards that protect them from the law. Tacoma officials have accommodated them by tolerating a proliferation of illegal marijuana stores that now – according to licensing records – greatly outnumber the city’s pharmacies.

That’s the visible end of the sham, but it’s not the headwater. Upstream, the industry is sustained by ever-growing numbers of common marijuana smokers who’ve discovered how easy it is get authorization papers on flimsy pretexts.

The News Tribune’s Rob Carson, for example, reported Sunday that, after walking into a Tacoma marijuana outlet, he was able to get medical authorization via the Internet from a nurse practitioner in another part of the state.

State law permits providers to authorize marijuana to treat debilitating or intractable pain that can’t be relieved by other treatments. Carson’s long-distance nurse quickly recommended marijuana for shoulder discomfort he normally handled with ibuprofen.

The medical ethics of too many pot docs are a joke. Supposed professionals recommend marijuana to the vast majority of “patients” they see, and they offer their customers their money back if they don’t walk away with a license to use. It’s all about the cash.

Judge John Hickman of the Pierce County Superior Court has lost patience with the charade. He has refused to return confiscated “medical marijuana” to two Tacomans unless they demonstrate that their authorizations actually comply with state law.

These two aren’t the issue; they may well be in compliance. What’s important is that somebody – at last – is insisting that authorizations pass muster with someone other than a marijuana merchant.

Somebody – preferably, responsible medical professionals – should be scrutinizing the authorizers on a routine basis.

Marijuana advocates talk about moving the drug from Schedule I to Schedule II, which would allow doctors to legally prescribe it.

That may not be a bad idea. But the prescribing of Schedule II drugs, such as Percocet and amphetamines, is monitored by professional oversight bodies and ultimately by pharmacists. Doctors get sanctioned if they get too prescription-happy.

Medical marijuana advocates who are out to help the genuinely sick – not furtively legalize the drug for all comers – wouldn’t object to tighter regulations of their own. Would they?

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. duke_of_hurl says:

    as long as alchohol ,tobacco,and firearms are sold legally(which im against).i will continue to use MJ openly..

  2. SteveSarich says:

    The Tacoma News Tribune staff needs a little cheese with their “whine”. All I hear is nothing but criticism, but not a single viable suggestion on how to fix the problems they keep whining about….outside of repealing the medical marijuana act.

    No one in the medical marijuana community has been more vocal about the developing level of sleaziness in the industry. There’s no question that there are plenty of greedy people that are more than willing to take advantage of the lack of legitimate standards in the industry. The difference is that I’m working on viable solutions to those problems and the TNT Editorial staff prefers to rake the muck. That’s why people who don’t have any comprehesion of what the actual problems are, can’t possibly provide any solutions.

    All they can do is continue to whine that “something should be done”. I challenge the Editorial Board to come up with some enforceable solutions….that don’t negatively effect the legitimate patients and providers in Tacoma and the rest of the state.

    Let’s debate this issue publicly. If you think you have the knowledge, and positive solutions to provide, I’ll be happy to debate this issue with you….any time…any where. If you don’t, please quit using your very public platform to whine about the sky falling. That’s simply irresponsible for people who call themselves “journalists” and pretend to report “the news”. Someone may actually believe that you know what you’re talking about. Judging by the comments you get constantly, it’s unlikely that anyone actually believes your rants.

    The offer is open. Put up or shut up on medical marijuana issues that you don’t even understand.

    Steve Sarich

  3. speakeasy says:

    Should supposedly-free adults, living in a supposedly-free society, have to get permission or approval from other adults before owning or smoking plant leaves?

  4. CannaPro says:

    This is just ridiculous. What is the news tribunes problem with medical cannabis. How, in any way does medical cannabis effect the lives of the Conservative editors working at the news tribune??? Please tell me. You call us pot people, and complain about our pot use. It is medical cannabis, not pot, please grow up and quit submitting your childish opinions. You say there are more dispensaries than pharmacies…THAT IS OUR GOAL. What is wrong with that picture? More herbal remedies being used that pharmaceutical poison? How dare us right? You complain about greedy people out there making money of “medical pot” and I agree some out there have taken advantage of the unregulated system. Now correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure there are a lot of people out there getting very rich of pharmaceutical sales. Why is that ok? Statistics show an estimate of around 3million deaths a year from pharmaceuticals. STILL 0 from cannabis. So please explain to me news tribune. What is fueling your feud with the medical cannabis community?

    And I ask please that before you post anymore of your SMUG articles. Take a seat in the lobby of CannaPath during patient appointments. You wont find a ton of potheads looking for greencards. You wont find a bunch of recreational smokers lookin to get high. NO, you’ll observe a lobby full of ill, injured, sick and irritated patients that are tired of being fed PILLS!

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