Light Up, If You Dare

Light Up, If You Dare
Posted by CN Staff on July 17, 2006 at 06:17:42 PT
By Gary Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
USA -- Cigarette-smokers and marijuana-smokers may have nothing more in common than the occasional need to borrow matches, but they're on the same side in California today: the outside.San Diego has just joined 35 other California cities with ordinances prohibiting anyone from lighting up on the beach. Aside from secondhand smoking concerns, they're fed up with butt litter. San Diego has nothing on San Francisco, of course.
A year ago, the city by the bay adopted the most restrictive outdoor smoking ban anywhere in the United States. Violators are presumably put on public display, padlocked in stocks in Golden Gate Park. Though San Francisco has long been a haven for leftist-leaning types (who are, coincidentally enough, often pot smokers), marijuana advocates also find themselves on the defensive there. The city's Planning Commission voted Thursday to deny a permit for medicinal marijuana sales near the Fisherman's Wharf tourist district. California legalized marijuana sales for pain treatment in 1996 to those with doctor's recommendations (10 other non-Pennsylvania states have since followed suit), but cities may restrict where the outlets are located. Potheads Go HomeThe 20 or more marijuana outlets operating in San Francisco are under tighter new city regulations that could make things less groovy for them. Neighbors of cannabis clubs have complained that some people with so-called medical needs purchase the marijuana just to resell it, and so the outlets draw an unsavory element, not to mention ill-groomed Cheech and Chong impersonators."The nature of pot clubs right now brings an element that's not appropriate," one Fisherman's Wharf area resident told the San Francisco Planning Commission. "This is a family neighborhood -- it's not right for such an adult-oriented and, to a great degree, counter-culture environment." The obvious solution would be for all those darned families to move out, so the pot-smokers and proprietors could have their space to do what they want, but no one ever seems to be so practical at such meetings.Hard To Think Straight California calls its 1996 medicinal marijuana law the Compassionate Use Act, intended to benefit people with cancer and AIDS rather than young stoners. If that's true, the federal government is -- shockingly -- very short on compassion.Federal law, upheld by U.S. Supreme Court rulings, makes no distinction between medical use of marijuana and using it to become goofy/reckless/murderous/(insert your own favored adjective here, depending on your personal beliefs about the drug). Federal authorities can prosecute medical marijuana patients even if users believe they're doing what's permitted under state law, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency sometimes does so, but mostly doesn't. The inconsistency makes things a little confusing or dizzying or any of those other effects rumored to take place when someone is undergoing "reefer madness."Some cities in California have set up regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries with various degrees of restriction, some have prohibited them to conform with federal law, and others have enacted moratoriums while awaiting some potential agreement among state and federal authorities. "It's a fascinating kind of game that's being played out," Hastings College law professor Marsha Cohen told the Contra Costa Times, describing a "shadow medical system" surrounding medical marijuana.Clearing Nothing Up Just to add to the confusion, private researchers and the government lack consensus on either marijuana's potential harm or potential benefits.The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that aside from potential cognitive and motor effects, cancer of the respiratory tract and lungs may be promoted by marijuana smoke. Considering the deep inhalation, the institute says, "puff for puff, smoking marijuana may increase the risk of cancer more than smoking tobacco does." But an extensive UCLA study released last month addressing that very issue found no correlation. Heavy pot users among the baby boomers surveyed had no elevated cancer risk, while people who smoked two or more packs of cigarettes a day had a 20-fold increased risk of lung cancer.At the same time, advocates of medicinal marijuana contend it helps certain patients, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said this year there were "no sound scientific studies" to support that, even though a 1999 government panel found marijuana "moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting."So there you have it, a muddled, hazy, picture of a substance that may or may not be legal and which may or may not hurt or help you, depending on your condition. Consider it just one more public service of The Morning File. Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)Author: Gary Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-GazettePublished: Monday, July 17, 2006Copyright: 2006 PG PublishingContact: letters post-gazette.comWebsite: Articles:Pot Club Turned Down Permit To Appeal Decision Study Finds No Cancer, Marijuana Connection Does Not Raise Lung Cancer Risk
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Comment #6 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on July 17, 2006 at 12:29:03 PT
Speaking of obvious
>>The obvious solution would be for all those darned families to move out, so the pot-smokers and proprietors could have their space to do what they want, but no one ever seems to be so practical at such meetings.The obvious solution would be to allow all adults to grow and possess, buy and sell it freely. Then there wouldn't be any people buying it for the purposes of re-sale. Of course that's a little bit bigger change than local SF politicians are able to enact on their own...
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Comment #5 posted by mayan on July 17, 2006 at 09:26:52 PT
Gary's Obsfucation Attempt
Just to add to the confusion, private researchers and the government lack consensus on either marijuana's potential harm or potential benefits.Gary Rotstein obviously hasn't been reading the news lately!Obsfucation is a futile tactic. The people have long since spoken and they are still demanding a legal,reliable source of medical cannabis.
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Comment #4 posted by Wayne on July 17, 2006 at 08:39:25 PT
Re: whig
Yeah, PA is definitely different. I went there for a wedding 3 years ago, and it was such a pain in the ass just to find a 6-pack. It took me almost an hour just to find a bar that sold carry-out. That is just inhumane.
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Comment #3 posted by whig on July 17, 2006 at 08:17:46 PT
This will be something for me to see. I'm still new to the California environment and haven't gotten out much yet apart from running errands to get our place together, but where I'm from the idea of public cannabis consumption is, frankly, inconceivable.Which is to say, the same perspective as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.I'm not really sure what to think about it, considering that it is also prohibited (at least where I'm from) to consume alcoholic beverages in public. But here, beer and wine and even hard liquor is sold even in convenience stores. Pennsylvania is -- different. Beer can be obtained by the six-pack (no more than two six-packs may be purchased at a time) in bars, or by the case (not by six-pack) at distributors. Wine can be purchased by the bottle at wine stores or state stores. Liquor can be purchased by the bottle at state stores only.A different environment, indeed.
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Comment #2 posted by unkat27 on July 17, 2006 at 07:07:53 PT
Hmmm... Why Now?
The timing of this is a bit suspicious, imo. San Diego community leaders have been getting much stricter lately about cannabis use.If you ask me, I think they're real reason for banning cigs on the beach is to push any potential cannabis users out. Just my opine, but I smell it like it is. These pharmaceutical stock-owners don't give a dang about cigarettes, they just want to push cannabis out of all public places. Next month, they'll push cigs out of the public parks too. Just you wait and see.
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Comment #1 posted by Truth on July 17, 2006 at 07:04:12 PT
Don't need
no more lies!
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