Will Pot Shops Be Kind To Patients?

Sullum is concerned over how the legalization of recreational pot in Washington state actually limits options for those who use it medically:

The cannabis strains that best meet patients’ needs may not appeal to recreational consumers. They may be low in psychoactive THC, for example, but high in cannabidiol (CBD), which shows promise as a treatment for a wide range of disorders, including epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. … H.B. 2149 and S.B. 5887 both would offer “medical marijuana endorsements” to pot stores that choose to serve patients, either exclusively or in addition to recreational users. The endorsements would allow registered patients to benefit from a higher purchase limit (three ounces rather than one) and an exemption from the standard sales tax. But patients worry that they will still be treated as an afterthought and may have trouble obtaining the specific varieties that are tailored to their symptoms.

Meanwhile, Nora Caplan-Bricker notes that the feds are still prosecuting pot-shop workers in states where medical marijuana is legal:

Obama’s administration brought 153 medical marijuana cases in its first four years, according to a June 2013 study from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Bush brought 163 in eight years. At the time of the study, Obama had not granted a single pardon or clemency petition to a medical marijuana defendant. Over 335 defendants had been charged with federal medical marijuana crimes in states where its sale was legal, and 158 had gone to jail.

But support for cannabis continues to grow – now in New York, set to become the 21st state to permit pot for patients:

State Senator Tom O’Mara, a conservative Republican from Western New York, is the fourth Republican lawmaker to come out publicly in support of a plan to legalize medical marijuana. “I have carefully considered the facts, and after meeting with patients and their families I have come to the conclusion it’s time for New York to offer a highly restrictive, tightly regulated network to provide patients access to treatment that will improve their quality of life,” O’Mara said in a statement released today.