On The Money: Medical Marijuana Controversy
By CBS 13 Staff
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Marijuana is no medical marvel — that's according to a new federal ruling generating plenty of controversy across California.
The Drug Enforcement Administration decree states that "marijuana has no currently accepted medical use" – in other words, this bud is not for you.
Yet in California you can easily get pizza, brownies, even cannabis cookies because medical marijuana is incredibly edible and of course, smokable. And all you need is a medical marijuana card – it's easy to get – but the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has ruled that “marijuana lacks accepted safety for medical use under supervision.”
"I’m here to disagree with the DEA," said Shane Randall, a medical marijuana patient at Alternative Medical Source (AMS) in Fair Oaks.
He told CBS 13, "I'm a type one diabetic. I also have auto-immune disease. I've been using medicinal marijuana for 5 years now."
CBS 13 interviewed medical marijuana patients at dispensaries across the Sacramento region. Every one of them, without exception, told CBS 13 that pot has helped ease their pain.
Bryan Roy, another patient at AMS told CBS 13, "I’ve had a couple of injuries, sports related injuries over the last year and a half and it helps with the pain."
"G", another cannabis patient told CBS 13, "My opinion is cannabis does work."
"It’s worked for me," he added. "It's worked for hundreds of people I know personally."
The DEA insists there is little scientific evidence to back up those claims.
"We do understand that the federal government has that opinion," stated Courtney Sheats of Americans for Safe Access.
"But we do have scientific research," she added, in an interview conducted inside El Camino Wellness Center in Sacramento.
Advocates are convinced the science proves that when it comes to pain management, medical marijuana does make a difference.
"For so many people we see on a daily basis, it’s been a miracle," noted Eric Rasmusson, a spokesman for 1 Love Wellness in Sacramento.
The feds are highly skeptical. But will local law enforcement be cracking down on medical cannabis? Don’t count on it.
In fact, when it comes to priorities, “Quite obviously it’s far from the top,” stated Jason Ramos, a detective with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.
Ramos told CBS 13, “We have to respond to crimes in progress first. And again crimes against the public peace and against persons is going to take priority.”
The budding war over medical marijuana is about to go to an even higher level. There’s a statewide ballot measure in the works that would legalize marijuana in California.
"We’re talking about the biggest crop in California that goes totally untaxed," said Steve Kubby, the campaign manager for the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act 2012.
Kubby argued that marijuana can bring billions of dollars to the California economy. His initiative would tax it – and regulate it for those 21 years of age and up – just like alcohol.
But legalizing marijuana for recreational use is controversial.
“I don’t think it should be available to the general public,” said Jeff Robinson, a supporter of medial marijuana. “I think you should have to go through the medical process to go see a physician,” he told CBS 13.
In the medical marijuana community, many folks are pushing back against legalization – perhaps, some say, to protect their lucrative business.
The Feds say the new ruling will not change enforcement on medical marijuana, which has been legal in California since voters approved it in 1996, via Prop 215.
The effort to legalize recreational pot use is expected to reach the ballot in November 2012.