California passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, in November 1996. Being the pioneer in this area of Law, Californians soon became the target of the Federal Government and the DEA because marijuana use was and still is, against Federal Law. Growers, providers and patients are all targets, and even though the Obama Administration called for a halt to Federal intervention in states with Compassionate Use Laws, it’s still happening to throughout the state. California made it harder for other states, in my opinion, because the regulation is very relaxed. Just my opinion, so don’t get all hurt defensive if you live there. For example, you need only to find a willing doctor, (very easy in Calif.) to say you have insomnia and boom – you are in the program and able to get medication that same day. It’s just that easy, just like buying a gun in Texas! I’m not saying California did it wrong, but since they’ve had so many issues with the implementation of their program and the Federal Government running interference, it has been my observation that other states have adopted more stringent rules and regulations so to not set themselves up as a similar target.
Let me tell you about my friend’s California experience, and it’s an odd one. As soon as they obtained their California drivers license they were practically qualified, no problem. The first Medical Marijuana qualifying office they called was staffed by a nut job who seemed to have a bit of a personality disorder. (Qualifying ailment?) She was very friendly on the phone and told my friend to be there at 5pm for an interview. Upon the friend’s prompt arrival he was greeted by a woman who stated they were closed for business and there were no doctors available to speak with, and he must leave right away. PSYCHO! This woman had greeted the previous client in line quite enthusiastically and with a friendly demeanor, but when my friend stepped up the friendly face transformed into a scowl, and the woman went into shut down mode with anger and resentfulness. Perhaps a case of mistaken identity? Maybe she thought his shoes were a little too new, black and shiny? No matter. After explaining that they had just spoken on the phone, and she had given great directions, and he was on time, the woman became irate and said he never called and he must leave immediately. My friend can spot a crazy person as well as anyone, so he left and went into the building’s lobby, sat down and looked through the newspaper for someone else to call. The woman from the MM office followed him downstairs, and told him to leave immediately and that he couldn’t be there in the lobby. Mind you, this was a big professional building with lots of offices, not a private office. She threatened to call security. She was obviously quite disturbed and had no business working with the public. Very unprofessional. Very, very strange. At this point my friend left quickly before she went totally bat-shit crazy.
He did get his medicinal marijuana card that day by going to another office picked out from a newspaper ad, filling out the forms, proving residency with the drivers license, endured a lengthy, (five minute) interview with a doctor in another location by video on a laptop, and pretty much that was it. He walked out qualified. Qualifying condition? Insomnia. He went home, found a dispensary that had great medicine in bud form and they delivered to his house that evening. A much shorter story, right? Except the crazy lady part.
Sweet dreams in California, but by starting with such lax qualifications, and vague regulations as to who can grow and sell, can make it tougher to sell the politicians in other states. Especially with stories like my friend’s story happening. Don’t get me wrong, I think California got it right to keep it looser, but it was a huge and risky step to take, (and I’m surprised the lawmakers had the balls to do it). Other states are watching closely to see what happens in the Golden State.
Since 1997, when Proposition 215 became active in California, quite a few other states have followed suit, albeit with stricter regulations. Perhaps they did not want to invite the wrath of the DEA like California did initially, or perhaps they were just trying to make what they believe to be sounder laws. I’m sure some lawmakers are trying to find the balance between what they think their state will be likely to pass into law and what they will reject for fear of federal repercussions.
The federal government has sent threats of raids and state-legal farm, dispensaries and individuals and withdrawal of federal funding to stated who have implemented Medical Cannabis programs. It is a small wonder that the Obama Administration recently agreed to lay off for a while while they watch what happens in Colorado and Washington as they implement legalization of recreational use. But there are no promises, and many states are still experiencing the full wrath of not only the DEA, but also CPS (Child Protective Services), who have several cases pending against parents who are medical marijuana patients, and have taken away their kids when there was no sign of any problems in the home, at all. Very bad news. Very sad stories. People’s lives are being ruined all over America because of archaic laws and ignorance of the facts about marijuana.