Consensus Can Solve Medical Marijuana Problems
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Consensus Can Solve Medical Marijuana Problems
Posted by CN Staff on May 27, 2010 at 04:17:00 PT
By Tom Daubert
Source: Billings Gazette
MT -- Montana’s medical marijuana law needs numerous clarifications and improvements. Even those of us who helped write it, and who have advocated for the rights of seriously ill patients ever since, agree wholeheartedly with law enforcement, civic leaders and others who now call for change.In fact, Patients & Families United has proposed improvements to the law in both of the last two legislative sessions. One of our bills, which passed the Senate (but not the House) in 2009, as amended would have created regulatory oversight and auditing of caregivers that pretty much everyone now agrees is sorely needed in a stricter form.
Particularly in light of recent federal policy changes, our law is not working as its proponents hoped, and patients are suffering unnecessarily from problems its vagueness has allowed. The same weaknesses in the law underlie most of the ongoing controversies.The good news is that for all the complexities involved in medical cannabis — and it is much more complicated than most observers appreciate — consensus is at hand on most of the core issues now making news. Patients and law enforcement officials, for example, have a lot more in common than not, and are largely united on the central questions.Those allowed to grow cannabis should be licensed, and those who do so for more than a few patients should be heavily regulated and monitored, either by the state health department or the agriculture department or both. (Currently, Montana is one of only three states that allow large-scale growing without state inspections.) And those allowed to dispense cannabis products to legal patients also must be regulated in a way that delivers complete transparency and accountability.Patients deserve a system that is clearly defined and controlled, ensuring that all cannabis products are safe and produced legally in Montana. Everyone, including patients, deserves to know that none of what any licensee produces goes to the illegal “black market.” Required, regulated transparency and professionalism would — pun fully intended — weed out the corrupt and amateurish opportunists who have come to dominate the appearance (and too much of the reality) of medical marijuana in Montana.Licensed growers and dispensers would benefit from having security standards outlined in the law, to safeguard plants and products and to prevent any of it from getting into illegal hands. Conscientious caregivers go to great lengths to protect themselves and their crops from criminals, and they appreciate having positive, trusting relations with local law enforcement officials. Spelling things out more clearly in the law would support and enhance this cooperation.Exploitation of the law’s physician recommendation requirement, at circus-atmosphere “clinics” that process hundreds of people in a single day, must come to an end. Montanans voted for compassion for patients who genuinely suffer certain conditions, but only when a physician makes judgments based on a clear diagnosis or review of medical records in a professional manner and in the context of a bona fide relationship, not in a hotel ballroom or abandoned warehouse. Financial relationships between caregivers and physicians should be outlawed, plain and simple. So should public use of cannabis, by anyone.The law, for legal, deserving patients, is simply too precious to squander. A recent study by a Great Falls physician found that a whopping two-thirds of cannabis patients in Montana have reduced their use of other, riskier and addicting pharmaceuticals. And the patients uniformly report better health with fewer side effects through the use of legal cannabis.The law is intended to honor the central Montana values of freedom and self-reliance, to grant worthy patients the liberty to use, in the privacy of their own homes, an ancient, proven natural plant for healing purposes. With consensus amendments at the 2011 Legislature, we can fulfill that goal and end the craziness.Tom Daubert of Helena, a leader of Patients & Families United (website, was a leader of the 2004 initiative campaign legalizing medical cannabis and helps operate Montana Cannabis, a statewide caregiver cooperative.Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)Author: Tom DaubertPublished: Thursday, May 27, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Billings GazetteContact: speakup billingsgazette.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #3 posted by Paint with light on May 27, 2010 at 22:37:07 PT
I agree afterburner
One of my goals this year is to try, in all my occasions to involve someone in a discourse on cannabis, to stress that there are three main areas that cannabis offers, jobs, jobs.Medical......compassion, compassion, compassion.Safer alternative to alcohol......fair, fair, fair.I want to use the word recreational but that does not give the message or illustrate the hypocrisy of current law as well as the longer phrase.Brief and specific is my goal.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on May 27, 2010 at 18:16:31 PT
These medical marijuana patients are being foolish to put their trust in nit-picking bureaucrats. The number of medical marijuana patients is not sufficient to fight the mighty prohibitionists of the city, county, state and federal governments and the vigilantes. Like the hemp advocates before them, they are trying to dissociate themselves from the larger demonized community of cannabis activists and aficionados. Look where that got the hemp movement: it is still illegal to grow hemp anywhere in the USA. It only can be imported from other nations.Hemp brothers and medical marijuana sisters, I embrace you. We've got your backs, and we will never stop until cannabis justice for all rules the land.
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on May 27, 2010 at 08:05:21 PT
you could simply legalize and regulate, removing the hand wringing complexity.This is just a phase. Walgreens and other pharmacies had massive business growth during the era of alcohol Prohibition, selling medicinal whiskey through doctor's prescriptions.
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