Re-Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Re-Legalizing Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on March 21, 2009 at 19:19:24 PT
Source: Bakersfield Californian
Bakersfield, CA -- Whether we accept the presumed benefits of medical marijuana as legitimate or not, Californians should at least be grateful that state and federal laws will no longer be in conflict when it comes to enforcement.Attorney General Eric H. Holder says the U.S. will undertake a shift in federal drug laws relative to medical marijuana, widely believed to ease symptoms in cancer patients and sufferers of a wide array of other maladies.
That means raids on medical marijuana distributors licensed in California will cease or be greatly reduced.In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the sale of cannabis to people with doctors' prescriptions. Many patients say they've been helped, but dueling jurisdictional interests have caused headaches for everyone concerned, especially for local law enforcement authorities bound by contradictory mandates.The new administration's approach to the problem seems to come too late for eight people arrested in July 2007 at Bakersfield's Nature's Medicinal Inc., which had been operating at 323 Roberts Lane. The dispensary's co-owners, David Chavez Sr. and David Chavez Jr., face hearings this month in U.S. District Court in Fresno, as do other dispensary employees.Several pot dispensaries in Bakersfield closed in the wake of the 2007 crackdown by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA was working in concert with the Kern County Sheriff's Department, which issued marijuana dispensary licenses to the very same businesses it helped close.The Obama administration's decision does not guarantee smooth sailing. On the contrary, it creates another set of challenges as law enforcement and other licensing agencies brace for the task of separating legitimate users from those without a recognized medical need. The decision also puts the ball into the court of medical licensing boards, which must help guide "pot doctors" out of the realm of perceived quackery and into the light of tightly regulated legitimacy.We're a long way from fully understanding the practical applications of medical marijuana. This latest step clarifies the picture by getting the feds out of the game and leaving states to come up with consistent approaches. It's up to leaders from the medical community and law enforcement to take things from here, with compassion and consistency two of the key objectives.Source: Bakersfield Californian, The (CA)Published: Saturday, March 21, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Bakersfield CalifornianContact: opinion bakersfield.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 21, 2009 at 19:44:30 PT
News Article From
We Have a Golden Opportunity to End the War on Drugs: Can You Help?By Don Hazen, AlterNet March 21, 2009URL:
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