Sunday, July 05, 2009

Medical marijuana update

In New Hampshire a medical marijuana bill has passed and is waiting for a signature from Gov. Lynch. The pressure not to sign apparently still comes from law enforcement, as this editorial in favor of the governor signing points out. I try to give people credit for actually believing what they say and not i9ntentionally lying, but this Portsmouth police chief is peddling pure claptrap. I hope he follows the evidence in a criminal case better than he did here. Too bad the editorialist was apparently not familiar with the report from the National Institute of Medicine, which said there was simply no scientific evidence for the "gateway theory" of people starting with marijuana and going on to "harder" drugs because of biochemistry or composition of drugs -- but that the theory that using marijuana sometimes leads to harder drugs because it is illegal and using it brings one in contact with a criminal subculture in which other drugs are available and pushed has some validity.

In Montrose CO, a patient living in Section 8 subsidized housing was tossed out for using marijuana, and he plans to sue. I suspect this suit will not be successful because Section 8 is a federal program and federal law is still complete prohibition, despite logic and common sense. Need to get my book written more quickly.

In Michigan, which passed a medical marijuana law last November, the program is experiencing some growing pains. More than 2,500 patient ID cards have been issued. but there's no safe, reliable source for legal medicinal-quality marijuana. In addition, some cops claim to be confused (oh how confused they can be when they're foot-dragging) about whether a patient with a doctor's recommendation byt no state ID card is in violation of the law. Obviously some cops would rather bust patients still than implement the new law. With good will such kinks can be worked out, but if California is any example, some people with the power to arrest are not overly endowed with good will.

Meanwhile in California, proprietors of dispensaries in Oakland are offering to increase the amount of taxes they pay during the state's fiscal crisis. It will hardly close the $25-billion-plus state budget gap, but it might help. Of course in South Lake Tahoe city attorneys are threatening to close three dispensaries that have opened in the past year. Do these officials have a death wish? Every level of government is facing budget problems, and these guys want to close down a source of revenue? And they believe they're the ones with right on their side. We still have a lot of work to do.


Anonymous said...

What exactly is the moral justification for banning marijuana anyways? I have never understood why smoking pot is considered "bad". How is getting 'stoned' any worse then getting drunk? I am no conspiracist but I have to wonder if there are not ulterior motives at work here.

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