Taking our medicine…
At what point does the cannabis movement catch up with reality?
Here is a hard cold fact…..most people who smoke pot are not sick. I know that is very hard for some in this movement to grasp on to and own; but nonetheless it is a fact.
I have mad respect for medical marijuana and lord knows I have met some true to life 100% legit users of marijuana as a medicine. I am not debating that there are many people in our society who indeed benefit from cannabis medicines. I am one of those people. I was hospitalized in a psych ward at the age of 12 for severe ADHD and placed on Ritalin for years. I also shattered my left heel and have 7 screws and a steel plate in my leg. Cannabis helps me to overcome the difficulties of these afflictions beyond a shadow of a doubt.
But even I know that all of my cannabis use is not strictly for my medical afflictions. I often enjoy just burning one before I watch a good flick, or will smoke far too many blunts and dabs to ever be considered a medical dose or application by any doctor’s standards. I am not alone either.
Much of the medical cannabis culture here in Cali, and in other medical cannabis states, do not revolve around a medical atmosphere. I can hear the diehard deniers now saying “It is more like an herbal medicine, Mickey.” Great….well it is not a traditional herbal medicine experience either. It is a culture that is based in decades of outlaw cannabis use and it is often the experience that is most notable…not the medicinal effects. I do not recall standing around the joint circle saying “Man, this doobie really helps me focus better, or control my pain.” There is a lot of discussion about the strains, and growing, and how awesome weed is; but very rarely do I feel like I am having a medical experience in my social interactions with cannabis, and cannabis users.
But nobody wants to own this fact. Our movement continues down the medicalization rabbit hole as if there is nothing to see here. We continue to try and look people in the eye and swear to Jesus that this entire industry is based on getting very sick people this very necessary medicine. The reality is that by any metric of what is considered medical in this society, we fail. The doctor’s office at the SmokeOut, the huge 420 joints, the half-naked chicks, and the general over-indulgence by many (including myself) to what is considered an appropriate medical use.
Just take edibles for instance….the current edible market has products labeled from 100-500 mg of THC. Consider that Marinol comes in three different strengths…2.5 mg/5 mg/10 mg. I was prescribed the highest dosage of 10 mg. The dosage was “take one tablet orally daily.” That is considered a medical dose. Maybe two tablets daily, if you have more serious issues. But our industry is consistently pushing dosages at 10-50 times a standard medical dose. Why? Because people want to get fucked up….
You can say it out loud…it is okay. Everyone else is. It seems that the only people who believe that the current medical industry is truly medical are the folks making a killing by it being limited to a medical only market…doctors, some dispensary operators, and some policy groups. They continue to fail to recognize the truth that is right in front of them, and are surprised when public officials, law makers, and law enforcement call bullshit. Most dispensaries walk the fine line, and try to put their best foot forward in maintaining a medical image. But if you ever sit back and watch the transactions happening, often (not always) there is more discussion of how good the weed is, rather than what symptoms it helps or what appropriate medical dosage levels are.
Yes. Marijuana is different than most medicines. It is a plant that comes in many different types and flavors. It is far more interesting than this pill or that pill. But do yourself a favor. Go sit in your local Walgreen’s for about 20 minutes and watch the transactions happening at the pharmacy there; then go sit at your dispensary for 20 minutes and observe the transactions there. It is just a completely different situation. For better or worse, the current situation for cannabis leaves a lot to be desired…for those of us who love cannabis, and for those who oppose cannabis.
So is anyone surprised that the US Attorney’s office is staging a massive crackdown on the industry because they believe that the industry is not medical at all? They are not standing there saying that “Cannabis is not a medicine” any more. What they are saying is “cannabis is a medicine for some people, but not all these motherfuckers.” Do not believe me? Here is a quote from the US Attorneys from october when they began staging the crackdown:
Laura Duffy, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California told KPCC’s Patt Morrison Friday that, overall, the effort aims to shut down retail pot dispensaries. “These are businesses that are, in large part, visited by healthy young people who have gone out and paid for doctor recommendations to obtain marijuana. These are a lot of youth and recreational drug users,” she said.
Duffy said the crackdown isn’t aimed at people who have a legitimate need for medical marijuana. Her sentiment has been echoed by Birotte. He says all for-profit, commercial marijuana operations are illegal, no matter where the dispensary is located. “While California law permits collective cultivation of marijuana in limited circumstances, it does not allow commercial distribution through the storefront model we see across California,” he said.
So we can continue to bullshit ourselves if we want and hope that they do not drive us all (or most) to extinction. Or we can take our medicine, understand that the jig is up, and take the battle to the next level….adult use of cannabis. If we choose to bury our head in the sand and deny that a lot of what happens in this industry crosses certain medical lines, then we will be destined to fail. The choice is ours. Just remember, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.