Thursday, October 08, 2009

Well that didn't take long. According to the LA Times, LA District Attorney Steve Cooley just announced that every single medical marijuana store is breaking the law and is subject to prosecution.

Obviously, this is going to drive Med Pot advocates insane. Just when they thought they'd won the fight, it turns out victory went to their head. They were a little too celebratory in victory. The explosion of legal and quasi-legal dispensaries has correctly drawn the attention of law enforcement.Look at the ads in KUSH L.A. Magazine and it's obvious that the stores are flaunting the regulations, even as thin and ineffective as they are.

No matter where you stand on the issue, you have to admit that there aren't that many people suffering from glaucoma and undergoing chemo that you need 800 dispensaries moving hundreds of pounds a day to take care of legitimate needs. The sheer number of stores has rightly resulted in concern that there may be something going on here that has little to do with sick people.

It's become clear to anyone familiar with the production and distribution matrix that illegal dope is entering the system and putting money into the hands of organized criminal groups. That's a legitimate law enforcement concern. And as the County's chief law enforcement officer, Cooley has an obligation to act.

The pro Med Pot war cry is this - Legalize it and Tax it. Proponents argue that it's a legitimate drug used for serious medical problems. On the other hand, they also want Cannabis treated like tobacco and liquor. Those arguments taken together frankly don't make sense. Tobacco and liquor are not medicine.

If cannabis is medicine, as they claim, then it should be regulated, controlled taxed and monitored like medicine. But that's one argument missing from their lexicon. The pro potters aren't busting down the doors at the FDA demanding to regulated, poked, prodded, tested and evaluated to the same degree as Ambasol.

The Med Pot lobby can't have it both ways. You can't use the medical argument if you object to being regulated and controlled like medicine. And you can't ask for equal treatment as tobacco and booze if you claim you're in the pharma business.

Tobacco and booze are heavily regulated. And Chivas Regal never claimed to cure insomnia. You can't for instance, brew up some bourbon in the back yard tub and sell it at the local quicki-mart. Same thing with tobacco. There's an agency called the ATF you have to deal with.

As the current Med Pot regulations are written, anyboby with a med card and ten square feet of dirt can get into the cannabis business. A cash business free of taxation, regulation or control. Consequently, it opens up huge possibilities for corruption and illegal operations.

The Med Pot proponents really need to examine their premises. Are they purveyors of recreational drugs? Or are they medical providers? Right now it appears they want to be treated with the deference of medical caregivers but they want to do it on the honor system. We don't let Wyeth or Glaxo work that way.

This issue needs to be reset to zero and finessed by somebody with the brains to make pot available to the genuinely sick while preventing corruption and reduce the likelihood of criminal exploitation.

No comments: