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US - Federal interference hinders medical cannabis dispensary regulation, hurts patie


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Dear Editor,

I was distressed to see writer John Soltes accept the official version of recent federal raids on medical cannabis dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay Area as fact, "Marijuana clubs turn out to be large drug ring" (June 25).

If federal authorities were not trying to subvert California law, it would be a lot easier to regulate medical cannabis dispensaries. And while Justice Stevens suggested Congress as an answer to the medical marijuana dilemma in the recent Supreme Court ruling, Congress is not representative of the American public they supposedly represent. Polls consistently find about 80% support for medical marijuana. But in a vote in Congress June 15 for a budget amendment that would have prohibited the use of federal funds to target patients in providers in the states that have legalized it, only 161 members, or about 37%, voted aye. In Wisconsin, members split along party lines, with the states four Democrats voting to prohibit targeting patients and our four Republicans voting in favor of arresting the sick and dying using marijuana legally under state laws. There is no other way to parse their votes.

Had Congress acted, the resources used interfering in matters that should be left to state authorities could have been fighting terrorism or protecting homeland security. The fact remains that these dispensaries were well established and served thousands of patients who will now need to find new sources.

Under federal law, every dispensary is considered a drug trafficker, paying rent is considered money laundering and a business meeting is conspiracy. The kind of record keeping required for proper regulation leaves a paper trail guaranteeing long mandatory minimum sentences for people providing medicine legally under state laws. Picking off dispensaries and claiming they are actually large criminal enterprises is just a way to divide and conquer medical marijuana supporters.

Until Congress does its job and passes the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, HR 2087, which reschedules marijuana so physicians can prescribe it and lets states set their own policies, a well-regulated distribution system is impossible.

Even if it turns out this went above and beyond medical use, the law still needs to be changed. Until federal authorities butt out, states with legal access to medical marijuana will have a harder time regulating medical use when cooperation with state law means federal offenses carrying long prison terms. In the meantime, there are patients who need this medicine and ways must be found to provide it to them. Generations of American patients have suffered because Congress failed to act. That withholding medical marijuana by force is the official policy of this nation in this day and age is a blight on everything this nation is supposed to stand for.

Source: foodconsumer.org
Copyright: © 2004-2005 foodconsumer™
Contact: Gary Storck @ gstorck@immly.org
Website: ://www.foodconsumer.org/777/8/Reader_s_response_to_Medical_marijuana__clubs_turn_out_to_be_large_drug_ring_.shtml
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