The Washington DC City Council has legalized the usual botch of a medical marijuana system–although without the part of people growing their own plants, apparently. The Washington Post hits a point in this controversy that is too seldom noticed–MM isn’t dispensed in a truly medical way under current legalization schemes. From the story:
For doctors such as Pradeep Chopra, long accustomed to prescribing carefully tested medications by the exact milligram, medical marijuana presents a particular conundrum.
On Tuesday, the D.C. Council gave final approval to a bill establishing a legal medical marijuana program. If Congress signs off, District doctors — like their counterparts in 14 states, including Rhode Island, where Chopra works — will be allowed to add pot to the therapies they can recommend to certain patients, who will then eat it, smoke it or vaporize it until they decide they are, well, high enough. The exact dosage and means of delivery — as well as the sometimes perplexing process of obtaining a drug that remains illegal under federal law — will be left largely up to the patient. And that, Chopra said, upends the way doctors are used to dispensing medication, giving the strait-laced medical establishment a whiff of the freewheeling world of weed.
Right. We need to test the substance and find out what it works for–probably migraines, neuropathy caused by diabetes, loss of appetite in cancer and AIDS, etc.–and for those maladies for which it doesn’t work. We need to test dosages. We need to permit full disbursal of delivery systems that don’t involve smoking or putting it into brownies. We need it to be formally prescribed, with appropriate time limits, rather than “recommended” by letter with no effective controls over that process.
The real answer to this–the one that would allow cannabis to be used as medicine and retain control against recreational legalization–is to treat marijuana like we do morphine, cocaine, and myriad other more potent and actually addictive “controlled substances.” But as I have repeatedly written, that will require amending the Controlled Substances Act to remove marijuana from Schedule 1. Instead, our cowardly (on this issue) so-called leaders from President Obama on down, refuse to lead and corrupt the law by allowing factual falsity to remain in the federal statues–that marijuana has no medicinal value–and undermine the rule of law by announcing it will not be enforced.
As a consequence, medical marijuana becomes an expedient (by some) for using sick people to front their desire to engage in recreational usage–the fear of which keeps our cowardly leaders from bringing integrity to the law. If we want to legalize and tax pot, let’s have that discussion. But it should not be confused with using marijuana or its medicinal properties in a truly medical way. And that is what continues to happen because of inaction by Congress and the President. Color me utterly disgusted (but then, what else is new?)