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Home / Articles / Views / Uncensored /  Keep your laws off patients' brownies
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Thursday, February 17,2011

Keep your laws off patients' brownies

By Pamela White

 

 

 

 

 

If you put THC in a lollipop, it will end up in a child’s mouth.

 

That’s the reasoning behind House Bill 1250, which would ban the sale of edible forms of medical marijuana. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Cindy Acree, R-Aurora, claims she became aware that pot brownies, beverages and candy were accidentally being ingested by kids and landing them in the emergency room. She wants to stop this before some child ends up very, very stoned.

OK, she didn’t say that. What she did say is this: “I’ve never heard of anybody dying from it, so that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about kids that have never exhibited psychotic episodes that end up having reactions or young children who have reactions.”

Of course, she didn’t offer any proof that such incidents had occurred or proof that edible/drinkable medical marijuana was to blame. When asked specifically which medical experts she’d lined up to testify about these regrettable and distressing incidents, she said she didn’t know yet who they would be.

Instead, she talked about the fact that the FDA hasn’t studied marijuana or established safe doses. This presents a safety concern for patients, she says.

“It’s unlike any other pharmaceutical, where somebody has a big interest in it so the pharmaceutical companies actually spend millions to study it, do test studies and blah blah blah,” she said. “We all know this stuff ’s been around forever, but nobody’s studied it or reported it if they have.”

Blah blah blah, indeed. What Rep. Acree is missing is that medical marijuana (MMJ) isn’t a pharmaceutical. If MMJ has one thing going for it, it’s that Big Pharma — the profit-driven industry that does tests on drugs, suppresses the results and then releases unsafe chemical drugs onto the market only to withdraw them after people have died — hasn’t been able to exploit marijuana. There’s little that the pharmaceutical laboratory needs to do to make marijuana safe or effective or available to anyone who wants it.

But, yes, marijuana has been studied. Millions of trials are conducted each day across the country by willing volunteers, who are satisfied enough with the results to repeat these experiments the next day. I admit to conducting some trials myself when I was in junior high and high school. (I am not a marijuana user now, medical or recreational.)

In fact, the medicinal uses of marijuana were discovered by people conducting these studies on their own.

Widespread understanding that marijuana has medicinal value — and personal experience with marijuana in large segments of our society — spurred voters to legalize medical marisee juana a decade ago.

Now that MMJ is a thriving industry, lawmakers seem to be in a rush to control it in the name of safety. Why?

Acree insists that it’s a public safety issue.

“We’re at the front of this huge industry, and I also am concerned that we’re going to have patients who are relying on people who are developing this big money stream who may not have their best interests at heart,” she said. “How do we protect patients so they don’t get priced out of the very product they wanted access to and it doesn’t get mixed with things they don’t want?” That’s a very good question. How do we protect patients so they don’t get priced out of the product they need?

When it comes to all other drugs, we don’t. We let people get “priced out” every day. If you don’t have health insurance and the antibiotic you need is still under patent, you can expect to cough up a lung before our state lawmakers help you out. If Acree wants medical marijuana to be treated like any other pharmaceutical, then ensuring accessibility and affordability are the very least of her concerns.

What ought to worry her is government interference. That’s what the GOP continually crusades against, isn’t it? And in this case, government interference might be telling someone with terminal cancer or serious mobility issues that they have to buy medical marijuana and then bake their own pot brownies at home if they don’t want to smoke the drug, even if doing so presents serious struggles for them.

Believe it or not, people are smart enough to manage the “dosing” on marijuana themselves. An acquaintance with chronic pain issues finds the brownies from her dispensary to be too strong. And guess what she does? She eats a half of a brownie, something she discovered through trial and error — without Acree or the legislature holding her hand.

If medical marijuana is ending up in the hands of children, let’s deal with that problem. But let’s not remove a viable, helpful product from those who need it. And most of all let’s not interfere with MMJ patients’ lives in the name of “safety.”

Claiming to want to protect people when what you really want to do is control them is the ultimate in big government manipulation.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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