Marijuana: Petition authors on why they want MMJ limited to DEA-approved pharmacies
The White House has established the We the People website, where folks can post petitions on the topics of their choice -- and if they garner enough support (currently 25,000 signatures in thirty days), an administration will review it and offer a response.
Currently, many of the most popular offerings focus on marijuana reform. But none are quite like the offering from Fort Collins' Dean and Karen Beers, who want medical marijuana limited to DEA-approved pharmacies. They explain why in the Q&A below.
In "Marijuana Legalization Tops White House Petition List," on our Toke of the Town sister blog, Steve Elliott notes the success of marijuana-related petitions such as this one arguing that marijuana should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol -- a proposal that mirrors the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, which is aiming for the November 2012 ballot in Colorado. Its goal was 5,000 signatures by October 22; at this writing, it's got 61,882.
As for the Beers' petition, it's got a long way to go. Thus far, it's garnered just five signatures. Still, the pair, who operate Associates in Forensic Investigations, bring plenty of experience to their proposal. They're both veteran death investigators, with Dean having served as deputy coroner with the Larimer County Medical Examiner's Office. (Update: Dean adds that Karen has worked as a deputy coroner, too.)
The pair don't dispute that marijuana has some medical properties. But they believe the manner in which it's regulated in Colorado has been a disaster, and they're troubled by the conflict between state and federal law. With that in mind, they contend that marijuana, "a mind-altering narcotic," should be "controlled and dispensed through approved Drug Enforcement Administration registered pharmacies" rather than a retail dispensary system.
Below, Dean and Karen argue passionately and at length about the flaws in the present system, and why their idea would be a vast improvement, in a Q&A conducted via e-mail.
Westword: What motivated you to put together this petition?
Dean and Karen Beers: We have lived in Colorado, specifically Fort Collins, for greater than 25 years (Dean was born in Fort Collins and is a 7th generation to the area). This is a beautiful state and city -- now known as the marijuana mecca. First, it was wrong to use the state Constitution for such a measure. Second, it was wrong to use 'medical' as the foot-in-the-door method towards legalization (or 'decriminalization').
Every day the print and television media has another issue about medical marijuana. This issue has impacted, negatively, our community and state. The growth -- in one year (2009-2010) from 5,000 to 53,000 is alarming and indicative not of need -- but of abuse. It is a sad state of affairs when you see medical marijuana dispensaries everywhere and the state registry continues to grow. Quite a huge amount of people -- over 100,000 people are now registered as of January, 2011 as having debilitating illnesses. Either there are a bunch of doctors making money on signing off on medical marijuana slips (we personally know of a retired doctor who was living in another state who did this), or Colorado must have a sick environment to have this many people fall ill in two years' time. We have personally witnessed the effects of friends and family members, who were and are long time marijuana users, end up homeless, jobless or in prison - even domestic violence perpetrated by users; this does not show a pattern of "harmlessness." Marijuana is a mind altering, depressive drug; it is not harmless. People like to argue that you can drink alcohol and it is mind altering, etc., yes it is, but it is not touted as a "medicine" although people did use it historically for pain management and hygiene. Part of the motivation was some of the petitions posted on the White House site were demanding not to prosecute marijuana offenders and to legalize marijuana.
Historically there have been supportive studies of the medicinal properties of marijuana. If this is truly the case, seek the road for which the people of Colorado thought they were voting when supporting the Constitutional Amendment. This was intended to treat persons with chronic debilitating illnesses, as determined by a patient's bonafide relationship with a physician and medical history. This has been abused.
There is no regulation -- in fact no medical certainty -- of how medical marijuana should be meted by dosage. Medicines, even over-the-counter, have recommended dosages. Narcotics regulated by the DEA and approved for medical use require a prescription with dosage. Medical marijuana seems to be the only exception. It is really pseudo-medicine to have 'strains' of marijuana -- as determined by the dispensary and not a scientific working group -- for specific illnesses. And these are called such attractive names as 'purple haze', 'mountain majesty', etc.; not medicinal. Finally, there is no criminal history background requirement of persons operating clinics -- but that is another petition.
In addition, we have personally and professionally seen the impact the abuse of marijuana has caused. Although not exclusively, it cannot be ignored. If medical marijuana is to be construed as a bonafide treatment, it should be regulated as such. It is being treated similar to a liquor store, which is now the mantra of pro-legalization (original pro-medicinal use). There is no bonafide recreational use.