Dr. Kevin Sabet, former right-hand man for Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske and champion of the new "Kinder Gentler Drug War" rhetoric that eschews "War on Drugs" metaphors without actually ending the War on Drugs, has a new post up on Huffington Post called "Medical Marijuana: Buyers Remorse in California Reaches New Heights." Unsurprisingly, Dr. Sabet has disabled the ability of Huffington Post readers to leave their own comments. It's not helpful to the mastermind of the Kinder Gentler Drug War to have average people poking holes in the illogic of putting people in cages over their use of what a DEA Administrative Law Judge called "the safest therapeutically active substance known to man" two dozen years ago.
So we'll take care of that here.
This week, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed to shut down all 900 store fronts selling marijuana for so-called "medical" purposes." Siding with neighborhood residents and public health experts like the American Medical Association, the Council took a courageous stand against what has become a magnet for crime, nuisance, and addiction.
As for that AMA link he provided, perhaps he missed the conclusions where they stated, "Results of short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis." That sounds kind of, I don't know, medical to me.
The vote -- and the federal court ruling confirming the decision that followed just hours after -- signals a major sense of buyers' remorse Californians are feeling after voting in "medical" marijuana 16 years ago.
That doesn't seem to be reflected in the polls. According to the most recent California Field Poll on the issue, dated September 2010, "Three in four of California's registered voters (74 percent) approve of the state's medical marijuana law, which was enacted by voters in the November 1996 election." That level of support is the same in 2010 as it was in 2004, and opposition dropped four percentage points during that time. At least three out of five Californians in any demographic - even elderly Republicans in the Central Valley who've never smoked pot -- support the medical marijuana law, even though "[m]ost voters (57 percent) think the medical marijuana law has made it easier for people to obtain marijuana, even among those without a medical need."
In another poll, the 2010 election, voters in Los Angeles County narrowly defeated the Prop 19 attempt to legalize marijuana for non-medical use by a vote of 52 percent; however, the statewide vote was 53.5 percent against, so Angelenos seem to be more accepting of marijuana use than Californians in general.
Fast forward 16 years and most Californians know that "medical" marijuana has become a sad joke. ... Today's dispensaries -- really pot shops selling the drug under the guise of medicine -- bear little resemblance to voters' intent.
The City Council should be commended for taking a courageous stance against these store fronts, and catching up with popular opinion.
But for 16 years, the L.A. City Council has failed every opportunity to work with medical marijuana advocates to craft workable dispensary regulations, such as those that seem to serve San Francisco and Oakland so well. Now they want to throw the baby out with the bath water and ban all dispensaries... as if the hundreds of thousands of patients with marijuana recommendations are going to stop buying marijuana. They will now just buy it underground where no legit jobs are created and no tax revenues can be reaped by Los Angeles and California.
There is a way to do medical marijuana right -- through science, pharmacies, and non-smoked medications based on the marijuana plant -- but we cannot rely on marijuana advocates for that.
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