If we want people to take medical marijuana seriously as medicine, we need to treat it like medicine. Compared to most FDA approved drugs, marijuana is a fairly safe drug, but it does have a potential for being abused.
I know the majority of people in California favor legalizing marijuana, and I agree, but for now it’s only legal as medicine. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the California medical marijuana law is being abused.
It seems everyone is addicted to money from marijuana. Everyone from patients who sell their excess marijuana, to legal and illegal growers, dispensaries, law enforcement, and even the doctors who do medical marijuana recommends.
In California growers can sell their marijuana wholesale for up to $4000.00 a pound, dispensaries add another $3600.00 a pound, that’s $7600.00. Today the price of gold is $1044.00 an ounce, the retail price of medical marijuana is around $475.00 an ounce. Only 10 outdoor marijuana plants can produce 20 pounds of high quality marijuana in six months, that’s $76,000.00, or the equivalent of producing 72.7 ounces of gold in your backyard. It’s these enormous profits that draw everyone from the guy next door, to organized criminal groups, and doctors to the profits from medical marijuana.
Even doctors are addicted to medical marijuana money. Doctors in the course of their regular practice should recommend marijuana, not medical practices setup to only recommend medical marijuana.
A doctor seeing 20 patients a day, and charging $150.00 for a medical marijuana recommendation, makes $3000.00 a day, $60,000.00 a month, or $720,000.00 a year. If some doctor was making $720,000.00 a year prescribing morphine, the medical board would shut them down in a heart beat.
I know a lot of people are upset by the dispensary raids lately in California, but the intent of the Compassionate Use Act was not for people to get rich selling medical marijuana. The intent of the Compassionate Use Act, was to help sick people get the medicine they need, but the absolute greed of the drug war has continued with medical marijuana.
How did wanting to help sick people, get translated into selling an easy to grow plant for almost its weight in gold. California is going through some adjustments as law makers, and law enforcement evaluate the intent of their medical marijuana law.
Many people disagree with dispensaries being required to document where their marijuana comes from, but without documentation how can we know where the marijuana came from? A grow ran by a couple of buddies out to make some money, or a Mexican cartel, a criminal organization, or worse yet someone who supports our enemies. I’m not trying to tie marijuana to terrorist or anything, but you must agree that it’s an easy way for any type of organization to raise a lot of money.
When I give LEAP presentations, I always tell people that until we remove the enormous profits from drugs, in this case marijuana, that drug dealers, and not the government will control, where marijuana is grown, where it’s sold, who it’s sold to, at what price, to what age customers, and where the profits go.
If the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act Initiative is approved by voters in 2010, it will attempt to remove the profits from medical marijuana by requiring dispensaries to operate on a not-for-profit basis; dispensaries may acquire marijuana from registered patients only if they receive no compensation. In California registered patients and other growers wholesale their excess marijuana for $3000-$4000.00 a pound.
Removing the profits for growers, and requiring dispensaries to only charge the actual costs to grow and operate their business, should go a long way to making medical marijuana more affordable for patients, and removing the profits that drive illegal grow operations.
Alcohol prohibition was an experiment, in 1919 looked like a good idea, but by 1933 we knew the experiment was a failure. Each new law is an experiment, some are good laws, some are bad laws, and some are a work in progress, like the Compassionate Use Act in California. Hopefully the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act Initiative will remove the profits from medical marijuana. As long as we look at history, and not make the same mistakes again and again, we’ll be ok.