Once again, the Tacoma News Tribune has achieved a level of stupidity that is both remarkable and depressing. And with Ken Burns’ fantastic series on alcohol prohibition airing this week on PBS, I should probably add inexcusable to that list as well.
The fun began over the weekend when TNT reporter Rob Carson filed a report about how he was able to get a medical marijuana authorization from a doctor he only saw over Skype. Anyone who’s familiar with the medical marijuana situation in the state knows that this kind of nonsense happens. At Seattle Hempfest, there were women with bikinis at the entrance encouraging people to “get legal” or to “get their green card”. Hell, we don’t even have “green cards” in this state.
Most people are smart enough to know that this will happen as long as there’s a way for people to make money from it. It’s no different from before medical marijuana was around, when there were thousands of people in this state willing to illegally sell pot to you for money. Now, along with those people, there are now people willing to provide you with a medical marijuana authorization for money. Not much of a difference other than the level of professional risk. These are merely the evolving ways that the futility of prohibiting a widely used recreation drug manifests itself.
As soon as I saw Carson’s report, I knew there was another Editorial Board disaster in the making. And they did not disappoint:
Restoring credibility to medical marijuana in Washington will require separating drug-seekers from the seriously ill people who may genuinely need it.
Anyone who cares about the latter should be anxious to prevent recreational users and abusers from discrediting the whole system – as is happening in Tacoma on a large scale.
The TNT seems awfully concerned about the credibility of medical marijuana, but they might need to be a little more worried about their own credibility. Hardly anyone disputes the fact that there are folks who derive genuine value from the medical use of marijuana. Even Dave Reichert has come to realize this after the reality of its effectiveness hit close to home. The fact that large numbers of recreational users come up with medical excuses doesn’t discredit that reality at all. But it does discredit the morons who can’t figure that out.
For the last two years, pot-lovers across the state have found it increasingly easy to get the so-called green cards that protect them from the law.
Wow, two big problems. There are no such thing as “green cards”. Anyone who’s told by a doctor that they are getting a “green card” is being scammed. This state does not have a registry system. What a doctor (or other licensed health professional) can give you is an authorization on special tamper-proof paper. And if a police officer finds your medical marijuana and he/she doesn’t think your authorization is valid? Well, he/she can still arrest your ass and see if the prosecutor will press charges. So not only are people not getting “green cards”, they don’t even have protection from the law. Of course, this fact makes the editorial even more completely pointless so it’s not surprising they’re not explaining it well.
Tacoma officials have accommodated them by tolerating a proliferation of illegal marijuana stores that now – according to licensing records – greatly outnumber the city’s pharmacies.
And according to a study by the RAND Corporation, it’s very possible that they lead to a reduction in crime in their immediate vicinity. So what’s the problem? Let’s get more of them!
That’s the visible end of the sham, but it’s not the headwater. Upstream, the industry is sustained by ever-growing numbers of common marijuana smokers who’ve discovered how easy it is get authorization papers on flimsy pretexts.
Who cares? Either those recreational smokers buy marijuana from someone who’s likely being supplied by organized crime, or they can buy it from a locally run dispensary who pays taxes and keeps the profits in the community. I know which option I prefer.
The News Tribune’s Rob Carson, for example, reported Sunday that, after walking into a Tacoma marijuana outlet, he was able to get medical authorization via the Internet from a nurse practitioner in another part of the state.
When the TNT finally goes tits up, I will pay top dollar for their fainting couch.
State law permits providers to authorize marijuana to treat debilitating or intractable pain that can’t be relieved by other treatments. Carson’s long-distance nurse quickly recommended marijuana for shoulder discomfort he normally handled with ibuprofen.
Sure, and if Carson got caught with marijuana and charged with possession, that authorization very likely wouldn’t hold up in court. Although if he were almost anywhere in King County, the prosecutor likely would have more important things to do than to charge him anyway. And if he were in Seattle, he wouldn’t even need the authorization.
The medical ethics of too many pot docs are a joke. Supposed professionals recommend marijuana to the vast majority of “patients” they see, and they offer their customers their money back if they don’t walk away with a license to use. It’s all about the cash.
Wow, how’d you unravel that mystery?! Boy, your investigative skills are top-notch.
Judge John Hickman of the Pierce County Superior Court has lost patience with the charade. He has refused to return confiscated “medical marijuana” to two Tacomans unless they demonstrate that their authorizations actually comply with state law.
Um, I believe they were providers, so even if their own authorizations don’t hold up, they only have to prove that they were providing for a valid patient.
These two aren’t the issue; they may well be in compliance. What’s important is that somebody – at last – is insisting that authorizations pass muster with someone other than a marijuana merchant.
That’s been the law, numbnuts. Look up State v. Fry.
Somebody – preferably, responsible medical professionals – should be scrutinizing the authorizers on a routine basis.
They already do, and few people get upset about it. In fact, a doctor who writes medical marijuana authorizations was one of the main people providing input for how the new law passed this year should prevent scammers.
Marijuana advocates talk about moving the drug from Schedule I to Schedule II, which would allow doctors to legally prescribe it.
That may not be a bad idea. But the prescribing of Schedule II drugs, such as Percocet and amphetamines, is monitored by professional oversight bodies and ultimately by pharmacists. Doctors get sanctioned if they get too prescription-happy.
Actually most marijuana advocates think it should be lower that Schedule II (which is where cocaine and methamphetamine are listed), but the general sentiment is true. If a doctor thinks that you could benefit from medical marijuana, you should be able to obtain it from a safe place where the safety of the drug is most assured. And every medical marijuana supporter I’ve ever known wants more research done to find out exactly what the plant does and how it’s most effective. Up until now, it’s mostly anecdotal and that’s far from ideal.
Sorry this is long, but for an editorial this clueless, it requires a full line-by-line takedown. Here’s the utterly obnoxious end:
Medical marijuana advocates who are out to help the genuinely sick – not furtively legalize the drug for all comers – wouldn’t object to tighter regulations of their own. Would they?
Sorry, but I’m here to both help the genuinely sick AND legalize the drug for all (adult) comers. I mentioned this week’s PBS documentary on alcohol prohibition for a reason, and it’s because the parallels are all too obvious.
During alcohol prohibition, there was a medical exemption for alcohol. If you could get a doctor to write you a prescription for whiskey, you were able to buy “medicinal” booze through legal channels. There was also a religious exemption. This led to a lot of priests and rabbis getting rich supplying people’s “spiritual activities”. All of this was cynical and all of it was driven by greed. But the answer to that problem wasn’t to crack down on the cynical ways people were able to exploit the law to get rich. The answer was to recognize that trying to stamp out a widely popular recreational drug is impossible, and that it was much smarter to make it legal and regulate its sale to all adults. The answer for marijuana is the same, and this should be obvious to anyone with both a brain and a minimal knowledge of history. But it appears that the folks at the Tacoma News-Tribune editorial board still have neither.