Get your red-hot medical marijuana here!

A friend driving through Ukiah, CA (a couple of hours north of SF on Highway 101) reports hearing an ad on a local radio station. She wasn’t taking notes, but this is the gist of ad as she recalls it:

Marijuana is a useful medicine for many conditions. At the Medical Offices of Cheech, Chong, and Tokem, our physicians know how to recommend it.

Call this number: XXX-YYYY

Note: The ad doesn’t start with a condition a patient might have and suggest that the physicians might be able to diagnose it if present and find a remedy. It starts with a remedy, which just happens to be a popular intoxicant, and asks patients to imagine what condition they might have for which it might be useful.

This is exactly what the opponents of Proposition 215, California’s medical marijuana initiative, warned against. It also gives a somewhat different twist to the complaint (with which I mostly sympathize) that the Drug Enforcement Administration was going beyond its legitimate powers when it threatened to yank the drug licenses of physicians who recommend cannabis to their patients, as required by Prop. 215 for the patient’s possession of the drug to be exempt from California law. If DEA goes after those radio docs for drug-peddling, I’ll have a hard time working up much sympathy.

That doesn’t change the fact that cannabis is almost certainly a useful treatment for at least some patients with several different diagnoses, and ought to be so recognized by the FDA and therefore sold lawfully at phrmacies under physicians’ prescription. I keep hoping that the National Institute on Drug Abuse will relax the policy which has effectively prevented researchers from acquiring cannabis to use in clinical research, and that the medical marijuana advocates will devote some tiny fraction of their lititigation-and-petitioning budget to the medical research that could take this issue off the table politically.

But all I can say to those docs in Ukiah is:


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

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