Drug Policy

Should Drug Reformers Give up on Medical Marijuana Laws? NORML Says Yes

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With 2012 shoring up to have at least two well-funded state-level medical marijuana initiatives, is now the time for drug reforms to abandon medical marijuana as a legislative deadend? In a column for CelebStoner, Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says yes: 

If this were the 1920s, advocacy of today's "medical" cannabis industry would sound like a lawyer back then fronting for the legal sellers of "prescription" alcohol during Prohibition. The med-pot industry, of course, opposes actual legalization, such as last year's Prop 19, which was also opposed by the profiteering communities in the state's northern "grow" counties.

Prescriptive alcohol was a sham then, and the "medical" cannabis industry (not medical cannabis itself) is largely a sham now. Is this news? NORML, and lawyers like Bill Panzer, have been warning ganjapreneurs and their legal counsel at our seminars and conferences about this political and legal box canyon since at least 2002.

Cannabis consumers, who NORML represents, want good, affordable cannabis products without having to go through the insult and expense of "qualifying" as a "medical" patient by paying physicians and/or the state for some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card. How intellectually honest is all of this?

NORML prefers to take a more transparent approach, advocating that cannabis should be legal for all adult consumers, including healthy ones.

St. Pierre doesn't deny that marijuana has proven medical value, or that it's improved the lives of patients who suffer from chronic pain and terminal illness. He does, however, cite a litany of recent federal attacks on current medical marijuana laws (all of them under President Obama), and asks, "What more re-assertion of primacy will we get from the Feds today?" 

As a counterpoint, medical marijuana laws are arguably the only way to shield people from SWAT-raid insanity in the interim between now and a prohibition-free future. Or, as MPP's Morgan Fox said to me some time ago, "Medical marijuana is a way to get the sick and dying off the battlefield of the war on drugs."