Pubdate: Thu, 18 Aug 2005
Source: Gay City News (NY)
Copyright: 2005 Gay City News
Author: Bruce Mirken
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


A few thoughts on Nathan Riley's commentary, "Marijuana and the Law" (Jul. 
21-27). First, the Supreme Court's ruling and the push by some California 
cities to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries hardly constitute a 
"one-two punch" to the medical marijuana movement. The high court for the 
first time declared unconditionally, "Marijuana has valid therapeutic 
purposes"--a historic milestone that is arguably much more important than 
the technical effect of the ruling, which simply maintained the status quo. 
State medical marijuana laws remain valid and fully in force, but do not 
confer immunity from federal prosecution. That's the situation patients 
have lived with for years.

As for local regulation, this is a good and necessary development. No one 
in the medical marijuana movement wants a Wild West situation with no rules 
and no accountability. Medical marijuana dispensaries must follow the law 
and be good neighbors. Responsible local regulation is the best way to 
ensure this--and the biggest obstacle to effective local regulation is 
federal law that treats anyone providing medical marijuana to those living 
with AIDS or cancer as no different than common drug dealers.

Second, the saga in Rhode Island is far from over. The governor's veto of 
the medical marijuana bill was instantly and overwhelmingly overridden by 
the State Senate. A House override vote will come later this summer.

Bruce Mirken Director of communications Marijuana Policy Project 
Washington, D.C.
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