|Photo: Quest Magazine|
|Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wants to keep being able to bust all marijuana users — even the medical ones.|
Wisconsin’s attorney general claims legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state would create serious problems for law enforcement.
While it’s no surprise he thinks so, let’s interpret Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s statement generously: He may actually be right.
That is, if you define “having to pursue real criminals instead of sick and dying patients” as a “problem.” And you could do that, since real criminals are usually a lot more dangerous, can run faster, and sometimes shoot back.
The A.G.’s office was one of only five groups testifying against the medical marijuana bill introduced this month in the Wisconsin Legislature, while more than 100 people testified in favor of it, reports Gil Halstead of Wisconsin Public Radio.
The attorney general claims the bill is “seriously flawed” and “will create a nightmare for law enforcement.” Once again, the dude is probably telling the truth, since lots of cops seem to already have nightmares about pot being legal for anyone, even the sick and dying.
According to Van Hollen, legalizing medical cannabis “gives the benefit of the doubt to almost all marijuana users, manufacturers and dealers,” making it more difficult for police to arrest “real offenders.”
OK, A.G. Van Hollen. We’ve tried to stick with you thus far, but we can’t go that route. It only makes sense that if you have to spend less time handcuffing people in wheelchairs and hospital beds, that would free up more time, making it easier to arrest “real offenders.”
As far as “giving the benefit of the doubt to all marijuana users,” we can’t have that, can we? Why, that’d be just terrible, wouldn’t it? No, man, actually it wouldn’t. Civilization seems to have somehow survived in the 13 states that already have medical marijuana.
|Photo Courtesy Gary Storck|
|Gary Storck has been using marijuana medically since 1972 — but 37 years later, it’s still illegal in Wisconsin.|
Medical marijuana advocates, including activist Gary Storck of Madison, disagree with the attorney general. Storck, who leads the group Is My Medicine Legal Yet? (IMMLY), says the bill requires medical marijuana users to sign up on a registry that law enforcement can easily check, and that the legislation makes it clear who can possess and grow pot legally.
Storck has been pushing for decades to get the Wisconsin Legislature to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, according to the Capital Times. “We’re not criminals; we’re just trying to get on with our lives,” Storck said.
Storck says he accidentally discovered in 1972 that marijuana lowered his intraocular pressure caused by severe congenital open-angle glaucoma. He tried to get into the federal government’s medical pot program in the 1970s, but his physician was unwilling to deal with the bureaucratic red tape involved.
Today he finds cannabis helpful not only for glaucoma, but also pain and spasms from degenerative disc disease in his neck and back, migraine headaches, and other physical issues.
Two two bills, if passed, would allow certain patients, including those suffering from HIV, cancer, and other debilitating diseases, whose doctors recommend marijuana, to grow up to 12 marijuana plants or three dried ounces of the drug.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services would issue registration cards to qualified and approved patients, making it possible for police officers to identify those who can legally possess marijuana. Cannabis distribution centers, known as “compassion centers,” would be created and licensed to distribute marijuana.
Storck says Van Hollen should look at states like Michigan where police haven’t had major problems. I’d add the suggestion that he also take a look at my home state of Washington, where medical pot has been legal for 11 years now, and the police seem to have figured out how to continue doing their jobs.