This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
The Tacoma City Council has done itself proud. Its decision to tolerate illegal medical marijuana sales has borne fruit in a pot shop at one of the city’s iconic family and tourist attractions, Freighthouse Square.
Hello, San Francisco. This is what the future holds – especially in Tacoma, apparently – if cannabis advocates succeed in expanding and privileging the fast-and-loose industry that medical marijuana is rapidly becoming in Washington.
Some lawmakers are actually pushing a bill that would loosen already-lax prescribing rules, legalize commercial sales, sanction large-scale grow operations and give users extraordinary legal protections against child-custody complaints, workplace anti-drug policies and law enforcement.
That’s precisely where medical marijuana should not be taken in this state.
But the Legislature could do much to clean up the current mess and help legitimate patients – simply by treating medical marijuana as medicine.
Cannabis does help some patients whose conditions can’t be relieved by other treatments, and some ethical doctors will recommend it in those narrow cases. But if it’s medicine, its purveyors shouldn’t be allowed to operate outside the rules that control the abuse and misuse of other potent drugs.
For example, the fly-by-night clinics that mass-produce marijuana authorization documents for patients – often on flimsy medical pretexts – are not required to maintain detailed medical records. That makes auditing and enforcement extremely difficult. The laxity taints the credibility of every authorization in the state.
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