State Rep. Christopher Hurst Stands Up for the Drug Cartels

Nina Shapiro at the Seattle Weekly writes about Tuesday’s protest in Tacoma over the city’s threat to close down eight medical marijuana dispensaries:

Yesterday’s showdown in Tacoma over the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries all but guarantees that the Legislature will finally attempt to resolve the question of whether such business are–or should be– legal. After the city initially threatened to shut the dispensaries down, it agreed last night to hold off until the end of the coming legislative session. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle) has already drafted a bill (see pdf) that proposes legalizing dispensaries. A number of fellow legislators, including a former cop and Republican senator named Jerome Delvin, are working with her. “There’s momentum,” says Kohl-Welles.

At the protest I spoke with an older woman who’s authorized to use marijuana to deal with severe muscle spasms that make it difficult for her to walk. I asked her where she’d be able to get her supply of marijuana if her dispensary were to close. She didn’t have an answer. The reality is that our medical marijuana law doesn’t work unless the law provides a safe and legal place for patients to obtain it. The one-patient-per-provider rule has left numerous patients – especially those who are disabled – from being able to obtain medicine. And the opposition to this obvious change is going to come from the same place once again:

On the other side of the spectrum, Rep. Christopher Hurst (D-Enumcluw) says he believes many legislators will oppose any bill that favors dispensaries. “You only need to look south” to California, he says, to realize that the dispensary business is a “sham,” a “nightmare,” and a “disaster.” Instead of serving people with real medical needs, he contends, California’s ubiquitous dispensaries sell pot “to anyone who walks in the door.” He says that’s why Los Angeles, among other jurisdictions, are currently cracking down on dispensaries, even while a broad pot legalization initiative is on the ballot.

California’s system is constantly held up as an example of how medical marijuana leads to “chaos”, but the only evidence of this is that unscrupulous doctors often authorize recreational users for profit. And even with that, California isn’t negatively affected in any way by its dispensary system. In fact, crime rates continue to drop across the state – to levels far lower than in the years before medical marijuana became legal.

That’s the root of the issue here. The more we legitimize this economic activity and bring it out of the shadows, the less violence there is surrounding it. Mexican drug cartels operate in Washington state. When locally-operated dispensaries are prohibited from forming, that just means more of the money goes towards those less afraid to break the law. Whether Representative Hurst understands it or not, what he’s doing is benefiting these organized crime groups.

It may seem hyperbolic to say that Hurst “stands up for the drug cartels”, but that’s unquestionably what’s occurring here. There’s no other way to characterize his position. The experience in Los Angeles, if anything, is an argument to craft realistic regulations for dispensaries (as Oakland and many other California cities did) rather than to follow Hurst’s lead and pretend everything would be better if they didn’t exist. If Los Angeles had set up a smarter method for licensing dispensaries, they’d have a small number of well-regulated dispensaries (again, like Oakland) rather than hundreds of unregulated ones that they’re now having difficulty shutting down.

Comments

  1. 1

    uptown spews:

    Is it really that hard to write reasonable rules, Rep. Hurst? Somehow we manage to distribute much more addictive drugs without any major problems.

  2. 2

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Why don’t we just come to the conclusion that people like to use marijuana as other people like to use alcohol. Prohibition of either is mindless and just plain dumb.

    Let’s legalize marijuana and let the public decide if they wish to use it or not.

  3. 3

    Bluecollar Libertarian spews:

    Any unsolved murders in the Puget Sound area? How about auto theft? How much of that is unsolved? Rape, sexual assaults, home burglaries, etc. How many of those have been cleared recently? Shoplifting scams, check fraud? How we doing with those numbers?

    Let’s compare the numbers!

  4. 4

    Michael spews:

    @1

    Is it really that hard to write reasonable rules, Rep. Hurst?

    What, he has to do his job? That’s not fair!
    This is so stupid, legalize the shit.

  5. 5

    Michael spews:

    That’s the root of the issue here. The more we legitimize this economic activity and bring it out of the shadows, the less violence there is surrounding it. Mexican drug cartels operate in Washington state.

    Yup, they just busted some folks with links to one in Tacoma.

    Tacoma police arrested five people and seized more than 10 kilograms of black-tar heroin Wednesday night as part of a drug investigation.
    Investigators believe the five are part of a larger drug trafficking organization that has been distributing heroin in the Tacoma area on behalf of a Mexican drug cartel, Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.
    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com.....z133H6RFcF

    We should give them one less product to sell.

  6. 6

    Michael spews:

    #5
    Continued…

    You’d think with all the cash they had they could have afforded to pick up a decent shotgun.

  7. 7

    spews:

    Don’t bother Lee. Hurst is a Republicon. Things like numbers, statistics, facts and all that kind of stuff mean nothing to him, and the brain dead zombies that vote for Republicons like him.

    As long as he tells them they will get some kind of tax cut they will follow him right over the cliff, every single time.

    And as far as harder drugs are concerned it sure is a good thing that addicts that want to quit can check into a rehab clinic anytime they have had enough, and want a better life….. Not!

  8. 8

    spews:

    @7
    Don’t bother Lee. Hurst is a Republicon.

    Sadly, he’s not. He’s a Democrat who holds a very important committee post in the State House.

  9. 9

    spews:

    At the protest I spoke with an older woman who’s authorized to use marijuana to deal with severe muscle spasms that make it difficult for her to walk. I asked her where she’d be able to get her supply of marijuana if her dispensary were to close. She didn’t have an answer.

    This is the sort of Lee post that sets me off.

    Both sides strike me as foolish. The pot supporters, have deified the green vegetable matter to the point of absurdity. Their opponents, go to the other extreme, describing this fairly harmless drug as the spawn of a demon.

    This woman has apparently seen a physician. If she needs THC, that is available by prescription from any pharmacy. I somehow will bet Lee did not make that recommendation.

    Of course is she wants to get her medicine mixed with carcinogens, she is free to smoke a cigarette or a joint made of oregano while she takes her marinol.

    Before Thehim exercises his douchebag invective, let me be clear about the actual evidence. There is no evidence for a clinical benefit from marijuana that is not attributable to its content of THC.

    There is, however, reason to believe that delivery of THC by inhalation may be more effective than taking a pill or an injection. An increasing number of drugs are available now in inhalant form.

    If Lee is really so compassionate for medical marijuana patients, he should push hard to get inhaled THC approved as a drug.

    Another option is to push for the regulation of K2. K2 is a synthetic cannabinoid with effects very much like THC. Unfortunately their have been reports of toxicity from people who have obtained K2 in the form of some sort of green vegetable matter. The likely cause of the toxicity is the addition of other chemicals. perhaps speed, to the “K2.”

    As a result, several states are now making K2, probably a harmless alternative reefers, also illegal.

    Again, if Lee really cares about people who need the effects of THC, he ought to be fighting to regulate and sell K2.

    Actually, as a new user of a Joye Ego (vapor e cigarette) I think a few drops of THC or K2 in my atomizer might be a good thing to try.

  10. 10

    spews:

    @9
    This woman has apparently seen a physician. If she needs THC, that is available by prescription from any pharmacy. I somehow will bet Lee did not make that recommendation.

    As has been pointed out to you more times than I can count, Marinol (prescription THC) does not work for large numbers of medical marijuana patients.

    Before Thehim exercises his douchebag invective, let me be clear about the actual evidence. There is no evidence for a clinical benefit from marijuana that is not attributable to its content of THC.

    This is simply not true. There are other cannabinoids within the marijuana plant which have been studied for their medicinal value.

    There is, however, reason to believe that delivery of THC by inhalation may be more effective than taking a pill or an injection. An increasing number of drugs are available now in inhalant form.

    That’s true, but Sativex, the one that I’m most familiar with, is still not approved by the FDA in the US (but is available in Canada and the UK). And it’s worth noting that Sativex (which consists of more than just THC and includes numerous cannabinoids found in the plant itself) works better than Marinol precisely because it contains more than just THC.

    If Lee is really so compassionate for medical marijuana patients, he should push hard to get inhaled THC approved as a drug.

    I do.

    Another option is to push for the regulation of K2. K2 is a synthetic cannabinoid with effects very much like THC. Unfortunately their have been reports of toxicity from people who have obtained K2 in the form of some sort of green vegetable matter.

    No, that’s not correct. The reports of toxicity are from people who have obtained K2 normally. What you said there does not make sense. K2 is not sold as a “green vegetable matter”. It’s sold as a synthetic compound.

    Again, if Lee really cares about people who need the effects of THC, he ought to be fighting to regulate and sell K2.

    I do support regulating and selling K2.

    Actually, as a new user of a Joye Ego (vapor e cigarette) I think a few drops of THC or K2 in my atomizer might be a good thing to try.

    I completely agree.

  11. 11

    SJ spews:

    Lee

    I am curious about some of your statements.

    1. I know of no evidence that supports your claim that the medicinal effects of MJ are not entirely attributable to THC, There are other cannabinoids in MJ, but the only report I have seen suggests those may even be toxic.

    Cites are welcome.

    2. I have not read reports that K2 is toxic when given as K2. What I have read is that people have bought a green veg. matter product sold as K2. The toxicity reported looks, as I have read, like one of the amphetamines.

    If you have a ref where K2 pr se has been toxic, I would be interested in seeing that.

    3. FYI The JOYE Ego would be a very easy system if someone wants to try to use it as a K2 or THC delivery device. For that matter, it might owrk fine with an extract of MJ itself, as long as the extract is aqueous. Thr cartridges are just made of polyfill and an eyedropper works fine to fill them.

    4. I was unaware that Sativex was made with impure ingredients .. or is it somehow formulated? In any case, I suspect anyone who is interested could dissolve marinol into water and add that to an inhaler or to a vaporcig.

    If pts are so dependent on MJ, this may be a way around the law.

    5. As for Marinol vs reefers, there may be studies but they can not be double blind because of the obvious psychological effects of smoking a reefer. Do you know that in England, docs can prescribe aspirin in silver vs gold foil? Patients cliam onr or the other is better for them.,

  12. 12

    spews:

    @11
    1. I know of no evidence that supports your claim that the medicinal effects of MJ are not entirely attributable to THC, There are other cannabinoids in MJ, but the only report I have seen suggests those may even be toxic.

    Cannabidiol is one, and here’s an example of one study documenting its medicinal benefits. I could likely dig up dozens more examples, but unless someone else in this comment thread thinks you know what you’re talking about, I see no reason to waste my time.

    2. I have not read reports that K2 is toxic when given as K2.

    The only evidence that I’ve seen about the toxicity of K2 is anecdotal.

    What I have read is that people have bought a green veg. matter product sold as K2. The toxicity reported looks, as I have read, like one of the amphetamines.

    Can you please cite a link?

    If you have a ref where K2 pr se has been toxic, I would be interested in seeing that.

    Only anecdotal evidence so far.

    3. FYI The JOYE Ego would be a very easy system if someone wants to try to use it as a K2 or THC delivery device.

    What are the advantages/disadvantages when compared to vaporizing?

    4. I was unaware that Sativex was made with impure ingredients .. or is it somehow formulated?

    Sativex is made directly from extractions from marijuana plants.

    If pts are so dependent on MJ, this may be a way around the law.

    There’s a cost aspect here. Another reason that Marinol is not ideal for folks is because of how much it costs. If the plant itself works just as well (and you can minimize other negative side-effects quite easily), why would you spend the extra money?

    5. As for Marinol vs reefers, there may be studies but they can not be double blind because of the obvious psychological effects of smoking a reefer.

    Perhaps, but the reality is that for people who deal with particular ailments (or symptoms of of more serious ailments), they’ll gravitate towards what works. As I’ve said many times before, once companies are able to make a drug that works better than the plant itself, people will naturally start using it.