Dope Dealing Doctors

Obama Admin. Unveils New Policy Easing Medical Marijuana ProsecutionsThe Colorado State Auditor checks in (pdf) on Colorado’s medical marijuana industry:

As of October 2012, a total of 903 physicians had recommended medical marijuana for the 108,000 patients holding valid red cards. Twelve physicians recommended medical marijuana for 50 percent of those patients, including one physician with more than 8,400 patients on the Registry.

Mark Kleiman is uncomfortable with how medical marijuana laws have been exploited by such doctors:

The strategy of using quasi-medical legalization as a means of normalizing consumption and moving the political acceptability of full commercial legalization has been a great success; apparently most voters either have short memories (of when they were being assured that “medical marijuana” was all about the patients and had nothing to do with full-on legalization) or don’t mind being bullshat in a good cause. And I’m not unhappy with the outcome. Nor am I naive about political tactics: Bismarck was right about laws and sausages.

Still, the whole deal – and especially the role of the “kush docs” – makes me a little sick to my stomach.

So smoke some weed, dude. It’s great for nausea. If that is the worst that can happen – fee-for-service medicine capturing yet another simple medication – I’m not so downcast. Peter Guither responds:

Yes, many legalizers came to the issue without much knowledge about the medical benefits of marijuana. And yes, they discovered that medical marijuana was also good for the legalization movement. They realized that the mass public would be less likely to be scared by a product that was used by grandmothers with cancer, which could defang the decades of government propaganda. And so they learned more about medical marijuana. And, lo and behold, they discovered it was really true. And they met inspirational people whose illness was transformed by using medical marijuana. And so they became legalizers who also cared about medical marijuana. It was not incompatible at all. Sure, they were “using” medical marijuana as a foot in the door for legalization, but only because that was the best way to also insure that sick people would be able to get their medicine.

(Photo: Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. By David McNew/Getty.)