+EdwardGlen Posted July 12, 2011 Report Share Posted July 12, 2011 http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/07/11/opinion/doc4e1b77009749d163453474.txt?viewmode=fullstory By Denise Pollicella When I need tomatoes for pasta sauce, I don’t walk down my street knocking on doors asking if anybody has ripe romas. I go to the grocery store. When I need a T-shirt, I don’t drive 1,200 miles to the nearest cotton farm, pick a bale of cotton, spin it, and sew together a shirt. I go to Aeropostale. Or occasionally Target. And when my son has an ear infection, I don’t phone random people asking if they have any spare antibiotics. I go to the pharmacy. Dispensaries, like grocery stores, clothing stores and pharmacies, are the safest, most practical means for making medical marijuana accessible to those who need it. They developed like every service always has throughout history — need. It is likely, in hindsight, that those who drafted the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act did not anticipate the industry that would be created from the simple act of making marijuana available for medicinal purposes. It puzzles me, however, that we are surprised — in a country at war and in a state with high unemployment and no more manufacturing base — that an industry developed where a need exists. It surprises me more that its most vehement opponents are the same politicians who espouse states’ rights, individual liberties and economic growth. While Gov. Rick Snyder is cutting education funding nearly $300 per student, Attorney General Bill Schuette is clearing prison space to make room for the very people keeping our economy afloat. I have an idea: Let’s close every dispensary, hydro store, smoke shop and Home Depot in Michigan and see what happens. Schuette’s justification for his charge to shut down dispensaries is protecting public safety when, in fact, the only violent crime happening is the state-sanctioned, swat-style raids against unarmed Michigan residents. To those shouting marijuana leads to violent crime, the facts and research support the opposite. Perhaps there is a way to do this without Michigan declaring war on its own people. I don’t know if our legislators have noticed, but this industry has created jobs and revenue, and is a monster of a tax base waiting to happen. Perhaps, we can work together toward reasonable regulation, licensing and taxation of providers. Will marijuana be abused? Of course. Like any other drug, it will get to minors and those who don’t truly need it, but outlawing dispensaries will only send it back into subdivisions and back alleys where it came from, where it does not belong and where nobody wants it. Instead of law enforcement monitoring two or three safe, central locations, they will have to monitor entire cities. Instead of going to a dispensary with a reliable supply of quality medication, very sick people in pain will have to call around hoping to find someone qualified to grow the right strain of medicine, and then hope that person never moves, gets sick or goes on vacation. The people of our state thought it was a good idea to make this much-vilified, yet remarkable plant available to sick people who wanted a natural, alternative form of medication. So here’s another idea. Let’s help them. Denise Pollicella practices corporate law and medical marijuana law in Livingston County. She is a founding member of the Michigan chapter of Mother’s United to End the War on Drugs. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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