Vice Squad
Friday, January 30, 2004
Here's the Problem with Medical Marijuana Statutes

I think people should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes. I also think they should be allowed to legally use it regardless of their health status. Medical marijuana statutes are a good step forward in our drug policy, and they certainly help those who can most benefit from marijuana's medicinal qualities.

However, this story from West Hawaii Today highlights a big problem with the statutes. Three people were arrested and detained for 8 hours for growing pot about a year ago, but were never charged with a crime. They are now suing the officers involved. All three are licensed by the state to use and possess marijuana for medical purposes, and they were all living together at the time of their arrests. Two of them have leukemia, one has muscular dystrophy.

The thing that is problematic is that the statute allows for each licensed person to possess three mature plants and four immature plants at a time. The cops seized 20 plants total and said that 11 of them were mature. The cops also said that the plants should have been identified with the patients' names so the cops could make sure each person really only had the allowable number of plants!

I don't understand how these cops can sleep at night - does it make them feel like they are doing their duty to harass very sick people who are obviously trying to comply with the law? Unless marijuana is legalized outright, it seems like we're going to have police officers who don't agree with medical marijuana statutes splitting hairs and arresting sick people for very minor infractions.

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