Thursday, November 12, 2009


My husband, (deceased) was an Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy. He learned from inmates a lot about controlled substances. For instance, inmates could buy cigarettes, if they could afford them. There were fights, including stabbings over cigarettes. When they issued inmates freeline tobacco, (a cheap, loose tobacco for roll your own cigs) fights over cigarettes ceased. (Now, for health reasons, inmates are no longer allowed to smoke in jail.)
Sugar was given to inmates in guarded amounts to control ants and the making of hooch. Thus, sugar became contraband. Inmates would smuggle it and sell it to other inmates. Fights would ensue and as a consequence, the ant problem and hooch making spread. Once they put sugar on the tables freely, the fights over sugar disappeared and the hooch makers were easier to control.

California legalized marijuana for medical use, the Federal Government, under Obama, chooses not to prosecute marijuana use in legal clinics and now the 250,000 physician strong American Medical Association has suspended its ban on marijuana research. They've asked the Federal Government to remove its classification as a Schedule 1 dangerous, restrictive drug. This opens the way for decent research on the benefits of cannabis. Their major objection stemmed from delivering it by the unhealty practice of smoking it.

Thirteen states have legal medical marijuana use laws and others are considering it. The Federal Government at one time classified Marijuana as causing a homocidal mania. The culture is changing and it is no longer considered the evil weed.

Dispensaries all over California are going through growing pains; unhappy neighbors, distrustful officials concerned about inadequate oversight. Clinic robberies, questions about permits and advertising. Can you put flyers on neighborhood cars advertising your business? How many clinics can you have in one neighborhood and are clinics allowing marijuana abuse? How close to schools can they be? Oh, the shakeout is coming and it needs to happen. But, the good news is, marijuana is coming out of the closet for treating cancer, glaucoma, HIV and pain. So, if we tax and regulate it like we do cigarettes and alcohol, some people will get rich, and the state, cities and counties would have a new source of revenue. And, it will lose its cache as contraband. I never thought I'd be a proponent of marijuana, but I'm part of that changing culture.

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