It has been a catch-22 for some time now. A number of states have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, and several have made it completely legal for medicinal use. But since Federal law still prohibits the production, transport or sale of marijuana, it requires someone breaking the law before even a legal medicinal user can obtain any. And not surprisingly, those who break the law are often criminals, so that even if someone who has a prescription does buy some, the chances are that their money is going directly to some local, national or international drug ring.
So this week, the city of Santa Cruz, California decided there has to be a better way for local medicinal marijuana users to get their prescriptions filled than standing on a street corners looking for dope peddlers.
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. Oct 26, 2005 — The City Council voted to create a department to coordinate the distribution of medical marijuana and vowed to fight federal drug regulators in court to establish it....
The City Council voted 4-2 Tuesday to create an Office of Compassionate Use, a five-member advisory board that would coordinate medical marijuana distribution within the city. User fees would fund the office, which likely would contract with pharmacies for distribution, (mayor) Rotkin said.
California law has allowed medical marijuana use since voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this summer that the federal government can continue to prosecute users.
Now it is true that they intend to seek Federal approval for the office, and so will wait until the outcome of a case going on in San Jose challenging the federal government's right to restrict states from allowing medicinal marijuana use is known.
Nevertheless, this is a step in the right direction. I have seen data which both support and refute the idea that marijuana can reduce the symptoms of diseases like glaucoma and cancer. It may be the equivalent of accupuncture-- in which the state of the mind plays more of a role in healing than anything done to the body, or it may be biochemical and actually directly promote healing. However in either case, those who suffer from these diseases and find relief from the use of marijuana should at least be allowed to alleviate their symptoms.
And, I myself would also not use medicinal marijuana even if I had a need for it because it is against the teachings of the leaders of my church. But what right have I to look into the eyes of a cancer patient wanting relief and tell them they can't have it because of a regulation? Or are we really such a heartless, crass and cruel society that we condemn them to suffer further because of an ideological position?