Drug Law

TIME’s “United States of Amerijuana” Nails it

| by NORML
By "Radical" Russ Belville

TIME Magazine takes a look at the growing popularity marijuana in America, taking the obligatory Prop 19 went “up in smoke” swipe while investigating the mainstreaming of medical marijuana.

The closing section, entitled “The Backlash Cometh”, points out the failure of medical marijuana initiatives in South Dakota and Arizona (obviously written before the final vote tally, but still, support went from 65% to 50.13%), the restrictions on dispensaries in California and Colorado, and the draconian New Jersey law.

The final paragraphs make the point about the “Judge Judy maxim” (“Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”) that I’ve been arguing about the growing reluctance of Americans to believe the “compassionate  use” angle.

There’s a rough justice here: the disingenuousness of the push for medical marijuana — billed as a compassionate reform and used as a tactic toward full legalization — was always its Achilles’ heel. Up to now, most states have approached medical marijuana with a series of evasions. Doctors rely on a patient’s report of pain to recommend it. Dispensaries rely on the word of doctors to sell it. Regulators rely on legislators to determine who can provide it, and legislators fall back on public opinion, which is ill suited to making careful and informed decisions about pharmacology. And no one takes direct responsibliity. None dare call it legalization.

There is another way to go about it.

“If we want to legalize mariiuana.” said [Christian] Thurstone [who runs a drug-treatment center in Denver], “then let’s legalize marijuana and call it a day. Let’s not sneak it in the back door, dragging the medical system into it.”

Here, at least, Thurstone finds an unexpected ally in Jenelise Robinson [a medicated-edibles manufacturer]. Going through boxes of her new Puff Potion medicated soda ($6 a bottle wholesale), she reflects on the oddity of the culture that medical marijuana has created in her state. “It seems silly, doesn’t it?” she says. “If there’s someone who’s been smoking for a long time, medicating, and this is what they like to do and this is what works for them, then why can’t they just do it? Why make them go to the doctor and register? Why force them to lie about it?”