Monday, August 31, 2009

Medical marijuana in Colorado

Sometime in the next few weeks (don't know exactly when; private businesses can be bureaucratic too) I'll be starting a blog on the Register's Web site tentatively to be called "Marijuana Papers," which will be concerned with all things marijuana. Our experience is that narrowly-targeted blogs with a fair amount of information of reasonably wide interest do best -- our general-purpose Orange Punch blog done by three of us is holding its own but not doing terribly well, so we're trying for something a little different. The idea is to have it be the one-stop needed for current news about the movement and developments across the country. So I'm beefing up my sources of information.

So here's some news about Colorado's implementation of it's medical marijuana law. While a number of distribution storefronts (a MM lawyer has advised me that "dispensary" is the term of opponents, so I'll try to avoid using it at least for a while, though I'm not sure it has as negative connotations as the resisters might think) are opening up -- and some cities still ban them -- a TV station has reported that only15 doctors are behind 75% half of the medical marijuana referrals in the state -- indeed, two doctors alone are responsible for about a third and five doctors account for almost half. The state govt. is said to be concerned about this. The impulse is to investigate that small number of doctors to see if there's something fishy going on.

This is a fairly typical pattern, unfortunately. They don't teach about medicinal uses of marijuana in Med school and most doctors know much less than you or I (especially if you've read my book). Most doctors have grown up in the prohibition regime, are skeptical about medicinal marijuana claims, and conservative -- or fearful, as they perhaps have a right to be considering the Colo. AG is talking about going after their licenses. Onlya few doctors with a special interest have educated themselves about marijuana, and of course you would expect them to write most of the recommendations in the early stages of medicinal marijuana implementation. They went after several in California, amounting to outright harassment of the late Dr. Tod Mikuriya, but never found cause to lift a license.

The government would do better to focus on why so many doctors aren't writing recommendations, if they have any legitimate interest in the matter at all.

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