Publisher’s Notebook: Medical Marijuana

October 03, 2007

Michael Rosenthal, Santa Monica Mirror (CA)

60 Minutes did a hatchet job on medical marijuana the other night. They criticized how easy it is to get a prescription for medical marijuana, yet made no comparison to how simple it is to get one for Valium, a more widely prescribed drug. Is there recreational Prozac? If people feel stressed in our modern world and MJ helps them to relax, then why not allow them to have it. Any good doctor can see the benefit of a drug that allows for almost instant relaxation and in a method that allows the patient to regulate the usage.

The story ended by having one of the subjects in the piece claim the current system is just “chaos.” It seems to me the only thing chaotic is the Federal government’s randomness in attacking dispensaries. They made it seem as if West Hollywood was one big dispensary. Any casual drive through that part of town will quickly reveal the paucity of dispensaries compared to the usage demanded by the public. In fact, you can hardly find one. More worrisome to me would be the amount of fast food shops there are in town, as they are a much greater risk to health.

Santa Monica will have to soon come to grips with its own formula for allowing medical marijuana farmacies. The city’s planning department is currently drafting rules for just such a thing. The DEA may head them off at the pass, though, as they are on a new kick, threatening landlords or property owners where dispensaries exist. How rude can you get? They have been “told” that Santa Monica does not want dispensaries. Uh, did anyone check out the poll booth? Seventy-three percent voted in favor of medical marijuana. I think there is more than a consensus here.

There are still a couple of prudish members of the City Council who, despite the overwhelming support of the public on this issue, hold out the false belief that they can ultimately prevent dispensaries from opening. The best approach I have seen so far comes from those that dispense medical MJ along with other homeopathic, naturopathic, or herbal-type drugs. In the end, the city will formulate rules that will allow a dispensary to sell this product as its primary purpose. I find this method of distribution far more civilized then having to acquire the drug in a back alley, or from people who have other harder drugs to sell with it – that is where the real danger lies. These clubs sell quality merchandise with great variety, mostly organic, and in forms for ingestion as well.

For the record, I do not smoke or eat or ingest marijuana. I like the smell and enjoyed the drug, but it has been many years since I imbibed, and, as odd as it sounds, medical reasons prohibit me from using it now.  Most important to me is the public’s right to enjoy it without arrest and imprisonment. In addition, I like the fact that, as the State’s largest cash crop, it allows people to live on the land in our more remote parts of the State, bringing a healthy balance to those economies. I do oppose poaching on public lands – those people are dangerous.

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