"The Good Old Daze"

September 28, 2010 in Legalization, Local Regulations

Will we one day look back on this moment as “the good old daze,” where for a moment in history we pushed back prohibition and people had more cannabis freedom? I sure hope not. I hope this is the “remember when we had to go to a Doctor to use cannabis legally” era. But far too many people believe that the current landscape will remain as vague and allowing as it is now. Some are so happy with their freedom as a patient that they fail to see the writing on the wall- our access is under attack. All over the State there has been a relaxed atmosphere regarding medical cannabis and people have somewhat found a comfort zone in which they have become lazy and complacent. People are so enamored with the current situation that they choose to ignore the facts- all over the State medical use is under attack, people think the medical system is a sham, and the powers at be are working to shade in the gray area and do away with the current system where collectives are undefined entities that provide cannabis to members through “incremental reimbursement,” or “donation” or whatever the cutesy word they choose to use for “sales” may be. The fact is that this cannot, and will not, last forever. Look around you.

Patient providers like Jovan Jackson find themselves in a court of law facing cannabis distribution charges and felonies for providing medical cannabis without being allowed a medical defense. Heck, the Judge even ruled ASA shirts were not allowed in the courtroom. How is that for safe access? Or Jeff Joseph facing charges for running a collective? Is he a criminal and the rest of you are not? Or Craig X Rubin? Do you believe that how he was targeted could not happen to you? Or the countless others who have spent the year tending their medical garden because people like Lanette Davies told them the “could grow as much as they wanted because that was between them and their Doctor” only to have Sheriff’s come and cut down their hard work and file charges for them being misinformed. You are blind if you do not see that your access is under attack and that YOU could be the victim any day because while the unclarity of Prop 215 and SB420 have afforded the community to explore the boundaries of the law, that same unclarity has allowed for rogue District Attorneys and Cops all over the State to kick in doors, and drag people to jail because their rights to grow and sell cannabis are not clearly protected anywhere in the current laws.

But do not ask me. What do California Lawmakers think? Do they believe the current system is on the up and up? Remember, it was the legislature that passed SB420, and they also can repeal or amend it to restrict freedoms and “control and regulate” the system better. In a recent vote on a resolution that would have called for an end to Federal interference into State “medical” cannabis affairs, “SJR14,” was struck down because lawmakers do not support the current state of affairs of the medial cannabis industry. They feel the freedoms are too loose and that the system is wrought with abuse. Here is what ASA wrote about it:

SJR 14 should have been a winner in a Democratic legislature – it costs nothing, does not change state law, and calls for action only in the federal arena. Unfortunately, ambivalence about medical cannabis is at a high water mark in Sacramento. Even legislators with a track record of support are worried about increasingly unpopular collectives, lenient doctors, or patients that “don’t look sick.” That is why some of the twelve silent Assemblymembers withheld their support for SJR 14.

So it begs to ask….”Who do we think we are fooling besides ourselves?” It is okay to believe in your heart that “all use is medical” like Dennis Peron and his group of loyal followers put forth. But does this really hold water? Can you really accuse all cannabis users who choose to believe they are not ill or injured to believe that they are simply “patients in denial.” Can we continue to push down the throats of society a fact that even most cannabis users do not really believe? Does it water down the real medical use of many patients to hear that EVERYONE is a patient and that they are no more sick than the 20-year-old kid who walked out of his doctor’s appointment “stoked to be legal, dude?” It is disingenuous and further pushes the real medical use and properties to the back burner because we choose to include everyone and everything as a medical issue, to which medical professionals and members of the community see as a huge abuse in the system.

I often address medical cannabis issues on local, non-cannabis blogs, often finding myself arguing with soccer moms and concerned folks that believe the current system is out of control. I am constantly defending the current and obvious abuses in the “everyone is medical” scenario. It is tiring to have to continue to defend this position because, frankly, there is a lot of truth in the argument. I support folks participating in Civil Disobedience and being “legal” by virtue of a doctor’s note, but I also understand that their are limits on how far this can be put forth and that eventually there will be a backlash. On an East bay blog, Claycord.com, I often find myself engaged in a spirited discussion with locals who do not use cannabis and who definitely do not believe that all use is medical. Here are a couple of the type of comments that I hae run across all the time that represent an increasing sentiment in the community and has lawmakers looking to roll back and limit the current state of affairs.

I have no problem with people using medicinal marijuana for their health issues. BUT so many people claim they have a health issue when they indeed do not, just to be able to get high. It’s a sham. What are some of these 21 y/o young males claiming they have?? Hangnails? An acute case of inarticulate, illiterate, personality disorder??

or this:

I would like to see marijuana available to the chronically ill. I wish the The State would find a way to control the sales of pot to only those who NEED it–and have a Rx–for physical pain or discomfort, such as through pharmacies. I, also, wish the State would better regulate the doctors who write bogus Rxs. I see one possibility would be to put a dispensary in a very large open space with zillions of acres in an unincorporated area of the county and that only one person at at time with a Rx could enter and only a very small amount could be dispensed at one time….and I don’t mean an ounce.

or this angle:

Half of the people i know in the bay area have the “medical card” to be able to buy weed in the dispensaries,and NONE of them have a single medical condition

These are the thoughts of people who are not in the cannabis looking glass and are observing the situation from the outside in. These are the types of arguments that we need to stop having. No matter what your thoughts are, we need to get to a place where citizens, law enforcement, and the media can quit demeaning cannabis by playing Doctor and deciding who is and who is not sick enough to use cannabis. Cannabis is safe and effective and enjoyable. We need to pass Prop. 19 and ensure that the real patients are protected and that those who may just go to the Doctor to be “legal” can quit pressing the boundaries and making the situation more difficult to justify.

We owe it to ourselves to advance the cause and move the ball down the field before the access we currently know and love become referred to as “The Good Old Daze,” when we believed the medical situation would never change and that we would be safe forever. it is just not a reality. So live in the now. Open your eyes. Vote YES on 19. Your access depends on it. If you believe it does not then I have a bridge in Florida to sell you….

And for real medical patients…nothing will change (unless of course you do nothing):

Prop 19 does not overturn or supersede Prop 215.  #1) Its Purposes and Intents are to make medical access safer and easier.  #2) It’s loaded with “Notwithstanding any other provision of law” clauses that mean “except where another law already makes something more legal” – like Prop 215.  #3) All powers over cultivation given to localities specifically mention “commercial” purposes.