Compassionate care to the sick and otherwise infirmed has always been a source of, not just American pride but, of all persons throughout history who seek to lessen the pain and suffering that our fellow travelers often, and through no fault of their own, find themselves the victims of. It’s why we are locked in a debate today in this country that is seemingly without compromise as those seeking compassion and care for all citizens are being met with an argument that the quality of care will suffer for other citizens.
Care, access to care and the ability to work in concert with ones physician for a quality of life that can exist despite overriding medical conditions is what drives compassion and what supports reasonable decisions based on genuine knowledge when prescriptions are written for the benefit of the patient. It is a system that works just fine for patients with access to available medicines. That is unless the medicine in question is Cannabis.
After years of debate regarding the conditions surrounding the presence of collectives that dispense medicinal marijuana and other cannabis-based medicines under the orders of a physician, the best the L.A. City Council could do was hurt legitimate patients with a decision that is as poorly thought out as it is steeped in a lack of knowledge. In their decision, compassion for true patients and the real conditions of patient access and of the dispensaries themselves… not even a consideration.
Now let’s be clear. No one denies the abuse that takes place surrounding the ability to obtain medicine for the purposes of “getting high.” Everyday, my local CVS, along with the Rite Aid up the Street and the mom and pop drug stores in between, allow patients to take prescriptions of Vicodin, Oxycontin and Xanax home because they have no business on their end deciding who is a legitimate patient and who is not. The DEA has jurisdiction, along with local authorities, to prosecute abuse, and on occasion they do. But the billion dollar criminal abuse of the drug industry is not answered by turning conditions of legitimate patients into a nightmare of access. So why are the rules different with this medicine?
For decades, marijuana has been misrepresented, abused and used. Misrepresented by those who hold no knowledge of the product, save that which is false. Abused by people seeking to get the psychotropic properties it offers and used by those who understand that herbs are the root of many Western medicines (like tree bark for Aspirin). These same scientists of herbal healing also understand that sometimes the herb itself, without processing, will give relief. And yes, I do use the word scientists accurately. Herbs work for scientific reasons if you care to take the time to investigate them.
The new rules set by the L.A. City Council are not designed for the patient but as response to the abuse. After years of debate and discussion, they have now created a separate and unequal condition of access to medicine based on everything but the needs of the legitimate patient. With prejudice and fear, and a failure to regulate how prescriptions must be obtained, they have failed to balance perceived problems with real knowledge of, not just the conditions that surround legitimate collectives and dispensaries of medicinal Cannabis but, the patients who use this product. If you abuse drugs from Dow Chemical or Pfizer, you may proceed within 1,000 feet of schools, residential neighborhoods (where legitimate patients also live) with no limits as to the location or number of sources available for this abuse of choice. But if your physician has, in a fully legitimate manner, determined that medicinal marijuana is the best course of treatment for you, you are now effectively placed in the category of an illegitimate abuser that law enforcement must protect the community from.
When you create laws that seek to abolish abuse by hurting legitimate patients, you are declaring that the legitimacy of a patient’s condition and course of action as decided between patient and physician is bound not by the cure or relief they seek but by the abuse taking place by others.
No legitimate physician bases a legitimate prescription on how another might abuse it. Why, then, do we allow any entity not connected with the patient or the physician to determine that legal access by one patient will be curtailed by the abuse of another?
It is a cheap way out that punishes the end point (the delivery of medicine) rather than addressing the real issue of prescription abuse. Now why do you suppose the city council attacked the end game instead of the games being played at the source? This city deserves an answer.
Lloyd E. Flyer is a freelance writer and may be contacted through “The Tolucan Times” or at Alternateangle@pacbell.net.