Students at Boston University on Legalizing Medical Marijuana
On November 6, Massachusetts' residents will vote on a ballot initiative that would legalize medical marijuana. The measure would allow people with glaucoma and chronic illnesses that cause severe pain to buy marijuana with a doctor's written recommendation, at designated dispensaries.
With the election just weeks away, this week's "YouSpeak" asked Boston University students: Should medical marijuana be legalized?
Every student said yes, although many qualified their answers to include a well-regulated system with good oversight. This is obviously a small sample of the student body at BU, but you’ll notice not one person said, “oh no, we can’t have that, it will send the wrong message to kids, there is already medicine on the market for these ailments,” etc.
Younger generations don’t look at medical marijuana as something that is evil, but as something that can be very helpful if it’s done right. The stigma attached to marijuana, even medicinal marijuana, is recognized mainly by those who were born before the hippie generation that came of age in the 1960’s. Those born after don’t see a stigma, they tend to see more of an opportunity to be compassionate.
It’s up to the younger generations to vote.
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The "Recreational" Component to Medical Marijuana
Arizona’s medical marijuana program will have stronger controls than other states, but some people will still exploit it to get the drug for recreational use, the state’s top health official said Wednesday.
“Is there a recreational component to the program? Absolutely, yes. Have we done everything we could to stretch our statutory authority to keep it as medical as possible? We have done that,” Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Humble opposed the medical marijuana proposition, but once it passed, he said it was his job to execute the will of voters.
“Obviously there’s a conflict with the Controlled Substances Act at the federal level,” Humble added. “I’m certain at some point this will end up in front of the Supreme Court.”
He went on to belittle the effect medical marijuana will have, expressing his wish that the resources devoted to it would go to other health issues. “In medical marijuana, the payoff was not profound,” Humble said.
I’m sure the people who have chosen cannabis as a safer and more effective alternative to dangerous and addictive prescription drugs would disagree.
Beyond that is this notion that recreational users getting their hands on some legal medical marijuana will somehow lead to a collapse of the system, or worse. Even if 10,000 recreational users get it and only one “real” patient is helped, then it is worth it. It’s not like the recreational users are costing the state money; they pay the same taxes and fees as everyone else for the privilege of participating in the program.
It all goes back to the belief that marijuana is a drug that can be abused instead of a plant that should be used by adults with no consequences as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of someone else.
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Feds Shut Down Oregon Medical Marijuana Farm
At about 9:30 a.m. yesterday, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided The High Hopes Farm, James Bowman’s medical marijuana operation outside Jacksonville, Oregon. The government brought earth-moving equipment to remove Bowman's crop. The farm was one of the biggest in Oregon.
Bowman, who is a longtime fixture in southern Oregon’s medical marijuana community, now faces the prospect of federal drug charges, but sources say he’s not supposed to be taken into custody.
Lori Duckworth, a medical marijuana activist who lives in Josephine County and works at a medical marijuana resource center in Medford, Oregon, said she was en route to Bowman’s operation to protest the federal government’s action.
“I am not on my way here to support James Bowman or High Hopes Farm,” she said. “I am here to protest if they seize any of the patients’ medicine.”
“These patients are now losing their medicine.”
Duckworth said she was not surprised by the crackdown on High Hopes.
“He was so large and so frank and so open about his operation that at some point he would be a target,” she said.
The feds are probably hoping the raids send a message to others to close up shop.
Martin Hensley, a medical marijuana patient of Bowman’s who lives in Portland, was stunned.
“Are you serious,” said Hensley. “Lord, have mercy. I can’t believe it. What am I going to do?”
Hensley said he planned to get more marijuana from Bowman in November.
“It leaves me empty-handed,” he said.
But the federal government doesn’t care. The DEA, Attorney General Eric Holder, not even President Obama cares. The crackdown continues. The threats and raids continue and there will be no repercussions for President Obama because the GOP nominee is a complete idiot. Hopefully things will change in a second term.
Towns in Vermont Prepare to Host Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Medical marijuana dispensary operators like Shayne Lynn are gearing up to open for business in Vermont soon. Shayne is going to operate a dispensary in Burlington, along the waterfront.
"There will be an old-fashioned glass countertop, and then there will be a selection of cannabis products underneath the glass. I see it as a small waiting area," said Lynn.
Lynn, who is 42, is passionate about medical marijuana. He founded a nonprofit called Champlain Valley Dispensary two years ago and then submitted his application for a state permit.
When the state approved it, he says he was thrilled and humbled.
"It gives you pause to make sure this is something that you really want to do," Lynn said. "I think the law that the Vermont Legislature passed is good and those regulations are what will help this program succeed."
All the dispensaries in Vermont, of which there will be 4, must be operated as non-profits.
Lynn also has the support of city officials, including Mayor Miro Weinberger.
"There have been successful dispensaries in many parts of the country," Weinberger said, standing in his office just blocks from Lynn's dispensary. "We're watching, but we're certainly hoping that's exactly what happens here."
With those high expectations, Lynn feels a certain responsibility. "There are stereotypes out there about cannabis use, and this is an opportunity to change that and show that people really use it for symptom relief - and that it can be a positive," he said.
It’s true that a stigma surrounds medical marijuana, and dispensaries in particular. But as more dispensaries open up, more people will see first-hand that dispensaries are just like any other business with a valuable product, and that they too can be an asset to the community.
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