Friday, October 23, 2009

DEA told to respect state medical marijuana laws, but I don’t think arrests will stop

The Obama administration has told the Department of Justice and federal prosecutors to respect state medical marijuana laws. I think this is a big step in the battle to protect patients, but I don’t think it is going to stop the arrests of people who are selling medical marijuana for profit.

For years in my LEAP presentations, I’ve said that until we remove the enormous profits from marijuana, drug dealers will control where marijuana is grown, to who it’s sold, at what price, and to what age customers. If you want to control medical marijuana, you need to regulate it.

As long as marijuana is worth thousands of dollars a pound, criminals will be involved in the marijuana business.

If marijuana is going to be seen as real medicine, we need to treat it like real medicine. Family doctors and other specialists in the course of their normal treatment should be the ones prescribing medical marijuana, not doctors who have an entire practice built on prescribing marijuana.

If a doctor only prescribed Morphine to their patients, the medical board or DEA would say, that’s not practicing medicine, its drug dealing. If a pharmacy only filled Morphine prescriptions, the pharmacy board would say it wasn’t right.

Something is wrong when treatment options or medication choices made by a physician, are dictated by the patient. Patients should have a say in their treatment, but it’s the doctor that is ultimately responsible the patients treatment. On the other hand, a physician who limit treatment options or medication choices for their patient to a single drug, are not providing the best treatment for their patient.

If you want marijuana for medicinal purposes, treat it like medicine, if you want recreational marijuana, change the law, but don’t mix the two.

Update: Fixed some a minor formatting problem - DB


  1. Like I said in another thread, legitimate medical MJ advocates would love nothing more than to see marijuana treated as an actual medicine. But that would require FDA approval. That, in turn, would require re-scheduling of cannabis, which doesn't seem to be a viable political possibility.

    So it's the politicians who have forced medical advocates into a corner. They literally have no hope of going through the proper channels, so what you end up with is a highly abused system like the one in LA. I've heard some people say that reformers are going about this irresponsibly, and that they're hurting the case for legitimate medical need with the free-for-all in LA. I reply that they're simply playing the hand they've been dealt; for a move toward medical legitimacy, the ball is in the federal government's court.

  2. Do you remember the chapter on D.A.R.E Rhayader in the book 'This is Your Country on Drugs' by Ryan Grim?
    It was an interesting read for me, as is the entire book for that matter.

    To the point:
    D.A.R.E. was started by Los Angeles Police Department chief Daryl Gates in 1983.
    The idea behind D.A.R.E. is simple. If drug use spreads like a virus, the thinking goes, then inoculating children before they're exposed could slow the spread. Early on, however D.A.R.E.'s creator made a decision that has been critical to both it success and to its failure: they chose cops as the ones to deliver the vaccine. ... pg.92

    And on page 101: The U.S. Surgeon General's office, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the National Institute of Justice, among other groups, have all concluded that the program is ineffective. The GAO found it to be counterproductive, as did researchers at Indiana University, who discovered that kids who had completed the program had higher rates of psychedelic drug use than those who had not. ....


  3. Yeah I do remember that part of the book Lea, and I agree with Grim's presence not only because of the statistical data, but because of my personal experience.

    I grew up right in the late 80's, early 90's "Just Say No!" heyday, and the propaganda was virtually constant. I remember the DARE program very well; I even won an essay contest for the program in 5th grade.

    And yet, a few short years later, at the age of 15, I first smoked pot. The demonization and exaggeration just doesn't work.


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