Friday, December 6, 2013

Marijuana as “Medicine” - Just what the M.D. / Ph.D. / J.D. ordered

Marijuana as “Medicine”
Just what the M.D. / Ph.D. / J.D. ordered

I am a Seattle lawyer with chronic back pain and a history of S.A.D.  I suffer from spinal arthritis and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.  I have been prescribed Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Prozac, and Wellbutrin and told not to mix them with booze.  Frustrated by my constantly knotted bowels, nervous terror, and desire to jump off a bridge, I decided to seek an umpteenth opinion.  On the advice of my metaphysician, I recently filled a medical marijuana prescription.  It’s made all the difference in the world.

It has been one year since we Washingtonians passed Initiative 502.  The medical marijuana industry stands to lose big from regulation when it finally kicks in next Spring; indeed, the only people I know who voted no were MMJ distributors.  We patients will be fine; the new scheme only expands our rights.  Vendors, on the other hand, must become state-licensed.  There are currently hundreds of untaxed, unregulated pot shop shops in Seattle.  Only 21 in-city licenses will be issued.  Here’s hoping that such a paucity of legal suppliers will indeed be able to decrease black market demand, and that industry experts (i.e., medical marijuana collectivists) will overcome their paranoia about having cameras recording every inch of their operations 24-7, and file the paperwork to go legitimate.

D.C. told Olympia: “We’ll back off and wait to see what happens if you promise to thwart the black market, and keep it from kids”  goals which the DEA has unequivocally not itself achieved in its protracted war on its own minority citizens.  The cost of zero-tolerance over the years has been incalculable.  But I digress.

The federal government continues to classify THC as a schedule 1 hallucinogenic.  It’s on par with LSD because the other Washington recognizes no benefits.  Anyone who witnessed San Fran in ‘68 can probably imagine a balancing test in which mind-altering (read: subconscious-outing) chemicals are perceived to be threatening to the establishment.  And to be fair, THC is de-square-ifying.  On the other hand it confers certain benefits. 

Because the debate lacks empirical evidence, I, as one of the few people in the world with permission to walk around with a joint in my pocket, feel duty-bound to relate my iota of experience. 

Here’s what my addiction looks like:  I come home from my job stressed.  My back and neck hurt.  I desire to unwind.  Rather than ten fingers of scotch, I pour myself a half-cup of chilled lemon water into a double-percolated glass-blown hookah pipe.  Then I select exactly the right strain of cannabis for my needs, play some evocative music, stretch out on floor pillows like the Cheshire Cat, and light up.  Occasionally (usually on weekends) I take a whole day to check in with myself; I find that self-psychoanalysis facilitates good mental health.

Why doesn’t Obama just order the FDA to conduct a clinical trial?  Because he knows what the results would be.  And then he’d have to comment.  But he doesn’t really give a darn – it’s only pot. 

Leave it to the states, says our judicious leader, re-delegating to we grantors of his power our 10th Amendment rights.

Herb might adversely affect adolescents’ brains say medical professionals.  Okay, restrict it to adults; that (kind of) works with alcohol.  Prosecute street deals.

Black marketers are businessmen; they have bottom-lines, like everyone else.  Cut deeply enough into their profits and they cannot continue to function.  Take away their weed sales, and they will have to shut down their entire operations, including distributing to minors bath salts and meth. 

Now the only guys who will sell weed to kids are SOL.  Shucks, maybe they’ll have to look for a 9-5 gig.

Interestingly, prior criminal convictions for marijuana related offenses will not preclude entrepreneurs from applying for the grower, processor and distributor licenses now available.  Which seems correct – after all, what other job can a convicted brother get?

In my opinion, in this case, federal interests will be excellently served by regulation at the state level.  And the economics of the idea is sound: tax the profits; conserve – indeed, increase – our monetary resources for use on more pressing problems.  Furthermore, society in general will profit from the more equitable treatment of its tan men.  Legislation which produces discriminatory results is per se unconstitutional.[1]

We’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.  But I for one vow to continue to use medical marijuana even if the federal government does step in.  Because bud is kind for what ails me, way mellower than anything else.  And as a citizen it is my right to civilly disobey unjust laws and try to catch a court case.

[1]  The appearance of anomalous district boundaries was sufficient to state a claim under the Equal Protection Clause for racial gerrymandering. [DeWitt v. Wilson, 856 F. Supp. 1409, 1412 (D. Cal. 1994)]. (Source:

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