Coastal Voices: Medical pot — Why do we need a law to allow a right?

By Submitted May 26, 2012 12:00 am

I am writing out of concern over letters to the editor attempting to muddy the reputation of the people (the many, many people) who use cannabis in this county and elsewhere.

Many say our medical use laws are poorly written, and for a people who need permission for every aspect of life, I suppose this is possible. In fact, the law we voted for in 1996 calls for safe, affordable distribution of cannabis as it states one of its purposes; “to encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.”

The law protects people from prosecution for cultivation, possession and use if a physician recommends it. Further the law states the purpose of the law is to “ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes.”

No, the law does not specifically give organizations the right to distribute cannabis to other patients, for profit or otherwise. However, courts have since found that despite the law lacking a provision allowing transportation, there is an “implied exemption.”

Logically, we would not tell hungry people they have the right to obtain food that no entity can provide. I think it is funny that people so against cannabis, socialism, and communism will tolerate it together, so long as nobody makes a buck. Subsequent laws and “suggestions” that are found to be an attempt to amend the law without voter approval will be, and have been, found unconstitutional.

And our sheriff, who supports small government and states’ rights will take that federal money for raiding benign organizations, even though the sheriff did not close all of the dispensaries down; fear did that.

In his May 19 letter (“What gives medipot patients right to endanger my health?”) James Perkins challenged how safe cannabis use is and accused users of polluting his environment with cannabis smoke. I would challenge him to find a safer treatment. Common, over-the-counter remedies (like Tylenol) kill thousands every year. We have used cannabis for thousands of years and we are all safe.

Many studies have attested to the condition cannabis leaves one when driving. Studies done at the University Of Iowa Carver College Of Medicine, The Hartford Hospital of Connecticut, The University of Colorado Denver, Montana State University and many others worldwide have found no significant effects of marijuana on driving performance.

In fact, one of the biggest differences these experiments find is an increased tendency to slow down and give more time to brake at stops. One study finds a correlation with reduced beer sales and lower intoxicated traffic mortality in states with medical cannabis laws.

“Cannabis smoke wafting” into the air is of the same consequence as a fireplace and the risk to unborn children is not well documented and negligible at best. Children of all ages benefit from their parents’ full involvement in their childhood, whether under the influence of cannabis, turnips, and/or tobacco or not, though there seems to be a connection with alcoholism and child abuse.

And what gives you the right to suck the marrow out of other peoples’ lives? Am I to be held responsible for your air quality? Wow. There are many things the average person does that tax the rest of us. We are all guilty. We are all an obstacle to someone else and their ideal.

I dislike people buying huge trucks and using them for commuting, people who buy 4x4s and never use them, I don’t think people over 40 should be able to vote anymore, I think Realtors are no more than sales people, unnecessary to the process of choosing a home, and dogs are “man’s best friend,” just not friend to the thousands of non-dog owning people who are mauled or killed every year. Where do the dog owners “get the right?” I like dogs, too, though, and I would rather take some of these issues and agree to disagree so we might be free.

The inherent risk in life must be more acceptable than us outlawing risk, in itself, or just what we might find taboo, lest we live in a future where we question the legality of selling turnips in the event no law has been drafted to grant us the obvious.

Can we tolerate pink eyes and lazy grins as well as we’ve tolerated beer bellies, beer breath, beer caps, pharmacy addicts and Realtors?  I think so, and to prove it I would like to apologize to any Realtors who may have read this.

Robert DeRego is a Crescent City resident.