Pot Politics

Pot Politics
Posted by CN Staff on January 31, 2007 at 21:43:55 PT
Source: Press Democrat
California -- Many Californians have a loved one or friend who has used marijuana to relieve the agonies associated with cancer, AIDS and other painful, often life-threatening diseases. No doubt state voters thought about those friends and loved ones - and imagined how they would feel in the same circumstances - when they approved Proposition 215, the state's medical marijuana law.
Eleven years later, it would be pleasant to believe that the state is now served by a rational, common-sense framework for delivering medical marijuana to people who are seriously ill.It would be pleasant to believe - and wrong.On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors was scheduled to take testimony on a controversial proposal to license medical marijuana clubs. Meanwhile, residents were debating the latest example of the inconsistent, sometimes bizarre applications of Proposition 215: A local man was arrested for growing and selling pot. After his attorney showed evidence that he was a medical marijuana user and caregiver, the district attorney dropped the charges, and the judge ordered police to return his marijuana, all 18 pounds of it. But the police refused, citing the federal law that prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana.Result: Stalemate.Given the politics of other states, Congress is unlikely to change the federal law.But the state Legislature and the governor could agree to provide a framework that respects the expectations of state voters back in 1996.The Santa Rosa man said he used marijuana to relieve anxiety and chronic pain, and to provide marijuana to 10 other people.Is this what the voters had in mind when they approved Proposition 215? We doubt it. But it's the kind of controversy that will occur again and again without specific guidelines for prescribing medical marijuana. The law needs to explain what medical conditions qualify for medical marijuana and in what quantities.This issue is made more complicated by groups that want to legalize marijuana via the backdoor, using the medical marijuana law for leverage.They are unlikely to be swayed by arguments made here or elsewhere. But their claims only add to the confusion and controversy - making it more difficult for the most seriously ill people to secure relief from the agonies of life-threatening diseases.Note: Lawmakers lack courage to bring common sense to marijuana laws.Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)Published: January 31, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Press DemocratContact: letters pressdemo.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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