Posts filed under ‘DEA’

Why Medicinal Use Matters

The reasons for supporting marijuana policy reform are as many and varied as there are advocates of marijuana policy reform. Medicinal use is only one, but right now, it is a very important one.

I find it hard to believe that there can be any significant change in marijuana policy without a change in the way law-abiding patients acting with a prescription are treated. Currently, patients in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington are subject to federal prosecution and violent raids by the DEA. At least they’re safe under state law, right?

Not so fast. According to a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court, people who supply marijuana to patients with a prescription are still subject to arrest as if they were drug dealers.

That’s funny – I thought the whole point of legalizing medicinal use was that medicinal use would be, you know, no longer a crime.

And therein lies the problem. How can we expect people to decriminalize marijuana on a wide scale – let alone legalize it- when law enforcement fails to recognize its use as a legitimate medicine?

Maybe I should clarify that: they recognize that marijuana is a legitimate medicine… they just believe that legal distribution and use of a medicine is a crime, even with a prescription and license.

In Michigan, the initiative to legalize medicinal marijuana received a greater portion of the vote than Obama did. (The same holds for the Massachusetts initiative to decriminalize small possession, and I am convinced that, had Massachusetts instead held a vote on medicinal use, it would have passed with over 70% of the vote.) It is no secret that a disproportionately large proportion of the elderly vote, compared to their children/grandchildren, and these voters are more likely to be sympathetic to medicinal use for ailments such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and others. These voters are less likely to support decriminalization or legalization for personal use (though as many as 70% in Massachusetts were polled as supporting decriminalization as well).

Once people accept marijuana as a medicine – thereby accepting that has beneficial properties – they are more likely to adjust their view of marijuana as a ‘dangerous, corruptive, gateway drug’ and start seeing it as it truly is.

We have reports of legislative efforts in Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York already, and it is very easy to start a campaign in your home state if there isn’t already one. (Contact us if you have any questions). It is key at this point to show strong support for state legislation legalizing medicinal marijuana, and it is also a very winnable battle, so let’s get to it!

January 5, 2009 at 5:03 am Leave a comment

Change.gov Open Again for Questions

Barack Obama has opened a section of his website for a second round of questions.

Last time, the top question was about marijuana policy reform, and Obama’s answer was brief and dismissive: ‘President-elect obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.’

No explanation, no evidence, and no rationale. If I had to guess why, I’d probably say because Obama knows there is no rational explanation.

Here is our chance to send a strong message: yes, we actually meant it! If you log into change.gov (and you don’t even need to verify your email, so it should take about thirty seconds to register), you will see that questions about marijuana are in the top ten under categories such as ‘National Security’ and ‘Additional Issues’. There are multiple questions about marijuana in each category, and the more we vote for these questions, the more likely we are to see change in this administration.

My personal opinion: questions about ending DEA raids are the most significant, because it is the step that Obama is most likely to take first. He can end DEA raids on patients using marijuana with a prescription, all without spending much political capital.

That said, vote for all the questions that you would like Obama to answer. Let’s make sure that the Obama administration gets the message.

December 30, 2008 at 4:47 am Leave a comment


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