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This is not going to discuss energy savings, shutting down oil refineries or offshore drilling.  In this case, Going Green is referring to Cannabis Sativa, Mary Jane, Blunts, Roaches, Joints, Spliffs, Bongs, THC, Bob Marley, yes….marijuana.

California has captivated headlines by saying that they’re going to place an initiative on their ballot to legalize marijuana.  This is happening even as numerous states are running into numerous problems with their Medical Marijuana laws.

Some of you know that I live in Colorado.  Colorado has a Medical Marijuana law and it has exploded in use over the last couple of years.  There are currently more marijuana dispensaries in Denver than there are Starbucks and they continue to pop up.  Each night on the news I hear stories about another robbery or burglary happening at another marijuana dispensary.  Cities across the state are now scrambling for ways to better regulate these facilities.

A very basic question that I have is this.  THC, the ingredient in marijuana that people are smoking it for, is available in pill form already.  Why then do we need to have smoked marijuana available with all the problems that it brings?  Marinol is a prescription medicine that can be prescribed by a doctor and dispensed from a controlled pharmacy.  http://www.rxlist.com/marinol-drug.htm

I live in a suburban neighborhood in Fort Collins, CO that is filled with middle to upper middle income families.  Crime is essentially non-existent and the homes are all single family dwellings filled with families that have roughly 2.54 kids each.  The only crime other than an occasional vehicle break-in was an armed Home Invasion Robbery.  What prompted this to happen?  The two residents of the home are medical marijuana patients.  When the masked gunmen forced their way into the home they asked for one thing:  marijuana.  They didn’t want money or electronics…just the drugs.

Denver (in 2010) passed a new ordinance that requires all dispensaries to have a special license.  It requires applicants to complete a background check, submit dispensary diagrams, security plans and pass zoning/fire inspections.  This is significant because dispensaries have been popping up next to schools and in residential areas where other businesses could not be located.  Can you imagine a marijuana dispensary opening in the home next to yours?

On January 31, 2010 Christian Thurston published an article in the Denver Post entitled Smoke and Mirrors.  Christian is the Medical Director of a substance abuse treatment program in Denver.  Christian provided an example of a 19 year old being treated for “Severe Addiction”.  This 19 year old walked in to dispensary, gave them $300 and discussed his depression with a “doctor”.  He was then given a medical marijuana card.  One pregnant woman was given a marijuana card to smoke because of her nausea.  Yes, she was told to smoke marijuana during the pregnancy.

We have people showing up to work stoned and claiming no foul because the marijuana was “prescribed” for them.  We have 18 year olds obtaining a license to smoke joints daily for an ear ache, depression, etc.

When the people of Colorado passed this law, the thought was that this would be an alternative to people with debilitating illnesses another option for treatment.  We did not think that this was going to be an epidemic of hippies and teens look for a legal way to get their fix.

There are other states in the same situation and others contemplating placing similar marijuana laws on the ballots.  Hopefully, they will plan ahead better than the State of Colorado has and only put the law on the books when they’re prepared to handle all the problems that come with the law.What needs to change?

  1. More stringent guidelines to obtain a medical marijuana card.
    • Conditions like ear aches should not be included
    • If they aren’t going to be more specific, then legalize marijuana so we can hopefully get past the crime that has come with the law
  2. Better zoning regulations so we don’t have dispensaries set up next to each other, located in residential areas or near schools.
  3. Mandatory security in these dispensaries to reduce violent robberies and burglaries.
  4. Better definitions of a caregiver and restrictions on growing quantities.  This too is turning residential neighborhoods into marijuana farms.
  5. Dispensing marijuana should be done through a controlled environment like a pharmacy, not the corner house where Guido is set up.
  6. Better education of patients
    • This does not give them the right to smoke and drive
    • This does not give them the right to smoke then go to work and operate a forklift
  7. The granting of a medical marijuana card should require the prescribing doctor to visit with the patient’s Primary Care Physician and thoroughly review the patient’s medical history.  Is there a history of drug abuse?  Is this appropriate therapy for the combination of their conditions?

Following the passing of the new healthcare system, it will be interesting to see if we will now begin covering the cost of medical marijuana.  Will Little Johnny down the street be able to walk into the local dispensary, choose from Raspberry flavored marijuana and have us pick up the tab?


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