By Rachel Brody |
Should sick patients be forced to buy medicine on the streets? Any civilized person would, of course, answer this question with a resounding "no." Unfortunately, this outcome is precisely what the federal government's policy of shuttering medical marijuana dispensaries will lead to. Every year, thousands of doctors recommend medical marijuana as a legitimate and safe medical option for hundreds of thousands of citizens suffering from a wide range of conditions. These medical marijuana patients, whether veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder or average citizens suffering with chronic pain, deserve access to this doctor-recommended medicine from a safe, regulated storefront--not a dark alleyway.
In the face of science and popular support, the federal government maintains its archaic "Drug War" stance that medical marijuana is a "Schedule I" controlled substance with zero medical value. Recognizing that the health and welfare of its citizens should be of primary concern, 16 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws allowing suffering patients to use marijuana for medical purposes within their state borders. States like California and Colorado have established medical marijuana access programs, overseen by state or local governments, which have produced jobs, generated millions in new tax revenue—helping to literally "keep the lights on" in cities like Colorado Springs—and, most importantly, allowed qualifying patients to access this medicine in a safe and regulated fashion.
The federal government has no place in restricting a healthcare alternative, especially one with minimal overdose or addiction potential like medical marijuana, in a state that has authorized this option. Shutting down dispensaries in California will only hurt patients by cutting off their safe access to this valuable medicine.
About Brian Vicente Executive Director of Sensible Colorado