Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Medical Marijuana: Who will step up first?

I've been feeling disheartened at the degree of vitriol directed at medical marijuana dispensaries across the county, and this latest news on the cover of today's Marin Independent Journal, Fate of four medical pot clubs uncertain, just deepens my melancholy over the subject.  [Of course, in the print edition, the clowns at the IJ thought it would be a great idea to title the article, "Cloud over dispensaries."  Really.  Clowns.]  I suppose it's to be expected that even though we passed a state law allowing medical marijuana, counties and towns can create their own obstacles to the operation of dispensaries within their boundaries.  Still I was surprised.

Maybe I was the only one who was glad when a dispensary moved in up the street in my neighborhood, moving into the space recently vacated between 7-11 and the laundromat.  How handy for sick people not to have to drive all the way to Corte Madera or Fairfax to buy their legal medicine.  It seemed to me like a great, green development - why shouldn't there be dispensaries accessible across the county.  I mean, really, look at the absurd density of pharmacies, CVS across the street from Rite-Aid across the street from Walgreen's.  There just can't be too many outlets for over-the-counter and prescription drugs, apparently. 

As soon as the sign went up for "Tree of Life," our Santa Venetia dispensary, immediately came the  neighborhood heat -- how close to a school, how close to the 7-11 where kids go for their super-healthy slurpies and after-school snacks.  You can't even get in the front door of the dispensary without a card, and yet children can go touch the beer selection at the 7-11, use their fake IDs or have grown-ups buy for them.

And by the way, buying weed at school is a shitload cheaper, people.  And a whole lot easier. 

What the dispensaries sell is medicine, for Pete's sake.  Come on. 

Yeah, sure, there're people who abuse any substance.  Just look at all those famous people with their oxycontin problems.  Or all those meth-makers who used to stock up on cold medicine.

And yes, I realize that it's still a federal offense and that cities aren't interested in that risk.  

But damn, how crucial was the medical marijuana when Joe was so sick from chemo that he couldn't eat anything.  When he felt so nauseous and the prescription drugs just made him feel worse.  When he was so down from pain, so hopeless from the side-effects of the legal drug regimen, that everything was bleak and his joie-de-vivre was 100% , totally, completely, heart-breakingly gone.  It just makes me so mad for people to have what seems like a knee-jerk NIMBY reaction to something that does really help people in chronic pain, people suffering with cancer or other life-threatening, joy-sucking conditions.

Again, what the dispensaries sell is medicine.  At a premium.

So which town in Marin, besides Fairfax (which now is allowing delivery of medical marijuana, thank you kind people), is going to step up in defense of the law we Californians passed in the name of people who are really suffering?  I don't want to be on a crusade about this, honestly, but it's bugging me so much that I may have no choice but to pick up the phone and start calling cities and asking.  Really.

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