The proposed ‘medical’ marijuana law in Question 3 is full of intentional loopholes and opportunity for abuse. Children are especially vulnerable to the increased availability of this gateway drug, should Question 3 pass. Please send the below ‘top ten’ list of problems with this legislation to local Parent-Teacher Associations/Organizations to spread the word:
1. Ballot Question 3 lists specific conditions for which a doctor can recommend marijuana for (regardless if this passes, they can never “prescribe” marijuana because it’s illegal under federal law. Doctor’s would only be able to recommend marijuana), however, the language of the proposed law includes “other conditions” which would allow anyone to get marijuana for any reason (anxiety, pain, insomnia, ADHD, back pain, headaches, etc.). This is the same loop hole that allows for widespread recreational pot use through the medical marijuana framework in states like California and Colorado. Colorado has over !20,000 card holders, one in 40 adults hold a medical marijuana card….
2. There would be no age limit nor expiration date on a recommendation, so once someone gets a medical marijuana card, they have a lifetime membership to pot stores or grow pot in their home.
3. The law would allow people to grow it in their home – anyone over the age of 21, even those with felony convictions. Caregivers could grow pot for patients. This is the same structure in the law that has caused a booming business of “home grows”, where people rent or purchase homes and use that home for marijuana growing. A whole house is turned into a green house for pot. And pot has a very strong, skunky aroma. Some home grows can be smelled a block away. Others draw sketchy traffic all through the night as people come in to purchase their pot around the clock. Home grows are often protected by people (dealers) with guns – and draw crime and violence as theft is pervasive.
4. The law would allow for 35 marijuana “treatment centers” in the first year, up to five in a county. The law allows for more to be established in future years. This is the loophole that has caused cities and communities in other states to be overrun by “treatment centers”. Currently, no one knows how many pot stores are in LA – they stopped counting at 900, but there are more than that even. Denver has about 500.
5. Treatment centers are nothing more than pot stores – they sell all strands of raw pot and “medibles” – candy, cookies, fudge, ice cream, gelato, pastes, you name it – all and any foods can be infused with marijuana. In California, they called them treatment stores in the beginning, but now they’re called “clubs”. We call them pot shops – or pot stores. Anyone 21 years or older could own and operate a pot store, with no special training – not even a high school diploma. No pharmacist, doctor or medical professional would be on staff. In California and Colorado, they’ve had big employment campaigns targeting high school graduates and college age kids to work for them. Here’s a link to a two minute tour, if you’re interested: http://youtu.be/c1USWdiJ-nc
6. The law prohibits tax sales on all marijuana purchases. The system would be non-profit. This is a BIG problem. This week, Boulder Colorado’s City Council is working to redraft their marijuana pot store regulation because their public health department loses hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in the administrative costs to oversee and regulate them. Ballot Question 3 has been crafted to be “revenue neutral”. This means outside of the licensing fee, there is no revenue to set up the separate, unique government run dispensary system or the regulation and enforcement to oversee it. Our currently crippled, underfunded DPH is charged with that job, the very agency that just cost taxpayers millions with their drug lab debacle caused by one employee.
7. People would be able to carry a 60 day supply of pot on their person and in their vehicle at any time. This practically begs people to sell it for personal, illicit profit. In Denver, 74% of kids in treatment for addiction report getting their marijuana from a medical marijuana holder a median of 50 times. We’ve seen diverted medical marijuana from other states like Maine and Colorado in the hands of our Massachusetts teens more and more with each year. Pot stores and medical marijuana systems like the one being proposed in Ballot Question 3 increase access and acceptability among teens. Massachusetts just opened its fourth recovery high school and we’re slated for a fifth next year in Worcester. These high schools are filled with kids challenged with pot addiction. Pot puts more kids in treatment in Massachusetts and across the country more than all other illicit drugs combined. Massachusetts teen pot rates are currently 30% higher than the national average.
8. In California and Colorado communities and cities are furiously working to shut pot stores down because of increased crime, violence, school truancy, and community decay. In September the LA City Council unanimously voted to ban all 900+ pot shops (which then became a legal mess as pot stores fought back). Santa Monica’s City Council unanimously put a moratorium on pot shops, and Berkeley – the heart of recreational pot use in this country – declared a pot shop a “public nuisance”. Rhode Island has been working to tighten up its law after a voter initiative and the ACLU just filed a suit against the state last week. It’s become a legal mess.
9. Ballot Question 3 includes “Severability” language that makes it impossible to repeal if it doesn’t work out. If any clause, sentence or section of the measure is found to be flawed of invalid, the judgement is confined to that particular clause, sentence or section and does not affect the rest of the law. This means, if something goes awry, only small pieces of the law can be repealed at a time, the entire law could not be thrown out at once. This has created havoc for California and Colorado because they can only reverse course through costly legal battles, one component at a time.
10. If passed, the law would be enacted on January 1st. Included in the proposed law is a provision that says people can grow and buy marijuana for medicinal purposes even if DPH has not established regulations. This means the entire medical marijuana system would begin and be in practice UNREGULATED until DPH is able to establish its plan for oversite – which could mean a year or two or more.
Thank you for your help!
For those of you who weren’t able to join us live on Tuesday night, we had the author of the MFI Book Club selection Live