Thoughts on Medical Marijuana in NY

Comments Off on Thoughts on Medical Marijuana in NY, 25/02/2010, by , in Opinion
Yeah. You read the title. On Feb. 23rd, the NY State Senate Health Committee passed medical marijuana legislation. I’ll admit, I don’t fully understand all of these political procedures that NY State government must go through before a bill becomes a law. It seems a bit more complicated than the cartoon of the bill on the steps of Capitol Hill (ha, I’m a rapper now) in DC.

Wait.. it was Capitol Hill right?

Anyway, on the surface, I am happy that NY is finally coming to its sense on medical marijuana. Honestly, it should have happened at least at the same time as California who passed their medical marijuana legislation in 1996.

However, as I read the bill, I am quite upset with the language.

Read for yourself: S4041B: Provides for medical use of marihuana

Low Limits

It would seem NY politicians want to be super strict and allow for tiny amounts of marijuana for seriously ill patients. While they get the gist of medical marijuana, they need to fully understand that they are NOT patients or doctors. Even most doctors don’t understand how to prescribe marijuana. The amounts allowed under this bill – 2.5oz – don’t factor in the need of the patient or the tolerance of the individual.

Some patients are known to use up to an ounce of marijuana a day. I am not talking about the typical recreational user. As a recreational user myself, I don’t think I could do more than a gram a day which amounts to an ounce per month. But, I am talking about seriously ill patients for which this bill is intended. On top of that, the “caregiver” is not allowed to care for more than 5 patients. (Sections 3362 and 3363)

It’s like saying you’re only allowed 10 regular strength Tylenol pills per month for serious migraines. Of course, you can buy a box of Tylenol, thousands of pills, and no one will think twice about it. Unfortunately, you can’t have enough marijuana for terminal illness.

I don’t need ID for Tylenol

The other thing that bugs me is the registration for ID cards. Basically, you’re getting a driver’s license for medical marijuana – name, address, picture, etc etc etc. It says that the Dept of Health will keep the information confidential, that is, until they have a reason to snitch on you which could be as simple as a DEA or FBI or even some local cop requests it.

If marijuana is to be considered medical, why do you need to alert a government agency that you’re using it? It’s medicine, right? I am sure we all, at some point in time, visited a pharmacy to fill a prescription for various medications from asthma pumps to antidepressants to oxycontin and percocet. Did any of us have to register with the government to use these medications? Did you have to stand in line at the DMV to get your picture taken?

I can understand the caregiver, much like a pharmacist, needing registration as a business. But, I don’t see why patients need to be registered with the government to take medicine. It’s an unnecessary invasion of privacy.

No Plant Limits?

The other problem that I have with it so far is that I don’t see any specific information as it pertains to cultivation. For example, how many plants would someone – patient or caregiver – be allowed to grow?

Section 3364 defines “registered organization” as a pharmacy, a licensed facility, a non profit corporation, the department, a local health department, or a registered producer. However, the registered producer, which seems to be the grower/cultivator/manufacturer, can not provide directly to the patients. Such a designation completely separates the grower from the potential role as a caregiver.

Edit
After re-reading this section, it looks like I want plant limits. As far as I am concerned, the more the better. No plant limits is great. However, I am afraid that it will be addressed and severely limited by politicians. If they think that 2.5oz is good for a seriously ill person, I can’t imagine what they would believe is acceptable in a grow operation.

At any rate, there is a lot missing from this bill and far too many limits. I have to question politicians that wrote this bill. I wonder if they had any input from the patients that use marijuana. Did they even bother to look into the other 14 medical marijuana states and their provisions. This bill is so very incomplete. If it passed, as is, it would cause more trouble than it’s worth.

If Senator Tom Duane ever reads this or any senator that has to vote on this bill, I’d beg him and them to please talk to patients from other states. Do not ask police or the DEA for their input as they are not doctors nor are they patients. They aren’t even growers/botanists. Speak with the people who need the medicine, not the people who benefit from its control. It would not be unreasonable to allow for more marijuana per patient and to allow patients to grow their own. It would be sensible to allow caregivers to also be “registered producers.”

As a marijuana grower and user, myself, politicians have a lot to learn about the use of marijuana. If they are willing to admit to its medical utility, at some point, they will have to be willing to learn and comprehend why different strains exist outside of the cute names.

I think I need to make some phone calls.

Just as a reminder.. marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed. Medical marijuana is nice but it still leaves the door open to the black market and violence against citizens from gangs and police.

Legalize it.
(It’s been 70+ years. It’s obvious you can’t stop it.)

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