California and the Legalization Movement

California and the Legalization Movement

Currently in America we have a fragmented system regarding marijuana law enforcement. Most of us live in fear that we will become one of the nearly 900,000 people arrested for marijuana each year with no consideration for why we toke.

Fortunately, some people live in one of the few states that have decriminalized personal possession. In these states possession could get you a fine or maybe even just a warning. You may be out a few $$ or forced to stand on the side of the road, lights blazing, for an hour while your neighbors stare but you will avoid jail or court.
A steady growing percentage of the US population live in a state that allows the legal use of Medical Marijuana.
Medical Marijuana laws very a lot from state to state, some with  ID cards and established distribution systems.  Other states give virtually no direction or protections for patients. Many believe the most confusion and for sure the most news coverage comes form California.
MMJ BottlesIn 1996 voters approved Prop 215 that allowed citizens to USE, GROW, and ????? marijuana if approved by a doctor.
So far the USE and GROW parts have not been without their bumps but have for the most part protected thousands of patients who grow and use pot as medicine on a small scale within their homes.
The ????? is a system of Dispensaries, Collectives, Co-Op’s, etc.
Many of these facilities operate with questionable management practices others go far beyond the required to ensure that they always operate within the ever changing set of state and local regulations. Where ever you stand on these issues, it is clear that the majority of the media coverage concerning recreational and medical use of marijuana is focused on California. Some  establishments in CA provide very high quality alternative care for many serious conditions, others are barely more than drug dealers with a store front.
I know there are many people who need medical marijuana and despite the confusions are being served by the CA system.  I also know lots of people from CA who chose to pay the $2-$300 for the doctors recommendation as a way to protect themselves from the random traffic stop that might land them in jail. They get weed from a variety of sources but mostly still rely on the black market. I also know a few folks who don’t even smoke much but do a variety of jobs within the distribution system therefore consider  the doctors recommendation a type of “Union Card” that allows them to work without fear.
MMJ CardIt’s clear to me that not everyone in the medical marijuana biz is in it for the patients or even for the right to smoke freely. There are most certainly those establishments that do more harm than good politically. CA needs a solid, state wide, set of regulations. These regulations should be clear, fair and enforced strictly. Those Establishments that do a great job now will continue to do well and the shops that are not able to handle the scrutiny will be weeded out.
As of right now I think CA has a total negative effect on the legalization movement. Not the good Doctors, Nurses, and Providers that work hard to care for the sick but, the overall “big picture”, the image portrayed in the media to the US voting population. As a movement I think we are best served by highlighting our accomplishments and working to improve in areas where improvement is needed. CA is not our best and we should do more to highlight the progress in NJ, CO, OR, etc. I don’t believe we should abandon all those working so hard in CA but CA needs to clean up its image. As a movement we all need to do more to focus on the other 13 states that have Medical Marijuana programs while California does that cleaning.

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