Some, like Bill O'Reilly, consider the California medical marijuana movement a scam. It's not hard to agree with his position without ignoring the existence of legitimate medical marijuana. Let me explain.
I prefer cannabis to be regulated as a recreational substance like wine, but, as the song goes, you can't always get what you want. As a law-abiding California adult I keep my use of cannabis to that which leaves me immune to state criminal prosecution and that in which the DEA ignores my actions, i.e., as long as I comply with state medical marijuana laws. This seems simple to me.
I like Obama and I wish he would do the right thing and reschedule cannabis as one of the least dangerous, and least addicting, psychoactive substances -- that same song is playing again. Obama did take steps to reassure medical marijuana patients that they are 'DEA uninteresting,' while warning those not complaint with state medical marijuana laws that they remain DEA targets.
Call me odd, but before I asked a doctor for a cannabis recommendation I read the laws and memorandums regarding California medical marijuana. Crazy, I know. Sans-bullshit, here's what will keep a legitimate medical marijuana user safe in California, and, as far as California is concerned, explains why Obama has kept his word.
In 1996, Proposition 215 granted Californians immunity to state criminal prosecution for the cultivation and possession of marijuana for "personal medical purposes" upon "the recommendation of a physician." In 2003, California SB 420 was written to clarify Prop 215 and specified that it did not "authorize any individual or group to cultivate or distribute marijuana for profit."
On Oct. 19, 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder released a memorandum not to focus federal resources "on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." Holder also mentioned that Congress still determines "that marijuana is a dangerous drug" to justify targeting those who "unlawfully market and sell marijuana for profit."
Get it? See the theme? Money from selling cannabis makes the government stand up and take notice.
The current not-for-profit economic structure does not support California's medical cannabis culture as it operates today. Hard-ass boors, like O'Reilly, ignore the true relief cannabis offers without the physical addiction, or toxicity, of alcohol or pharmaceuticals. On the other hand, only the reckless ignore the present legal difference between medical and recreational cannabis, which amounts to 'no profit.'
Cannabis reform is inhibited by an obsolete classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. Let us bring the law up to scientific, and moral, reality rather than the other way around. Obama, in your second term, do the right thing and shake up the O'Reilly's of the world with a proper dose of reality by rescheduling cannabis as the virtual harmless substance that it is -- or, at least, do it on your way out.
Originally published on 420dialog.com.