Medical marijuana seems to pass pretty easily when presented on a ballot to the public. Even in more conservative areas it seems to pass; Arizona was one of the first states to pass medical marijuana legislation. We picture terminally ill patients being offered a small amount of relief from terrible and excruciating pain and collectively we have no problem allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to these people. No problem here, right? There wouldn’t be; if this is how it works in practice.
The most popular set-up for a medical marijuana dispensary goes like this; A “headshop” in the front selling everything but marijuana: pipes, bongs, clothing, posters etc. Anyone (with or without a medical marijuana “license”) can access the headshop and make purchases. Around back we have the dispensary. The marijuana license must be presented at the door to gain admission. The marijuana is sold here by strain/brand. Food products and extracts are also sold. The problem with this is that the most objectionable items for sale are not in the dispensary where only a patient can purchase them but in the headshop where anyone can browse and purchase.
The Dangerous Items
The items I mention include “bath salts”. The chemical name is methylenedioxypyrovalerone. The chemical is a central nervous system stimulant and has an effect a lot like that of amphetamine. Another item is “spice”. The chemical name is (1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole). It is marketed as synthetic marijuana, however, it does not contain THC and thus will not show up in drug tests making it popular among people who are on probation. Both of these chemicals are available in the front part of the store (headshop) where nothing more than a driver’s license is necessary to purchase. “Spice” is sold as incense and labeled “not for human consumption. “Bath salts” are also labeled “not for human consumption”. The dangers of these two substances are now well known. There are many more like these. These substances have been outlawed in many states, but there are sure to be more on the way.
In Fort Collins, CO you can see a doctor about getting a “red card” (the license is red in Colorado) for around $150. The fact of the matter is that anyone can get a red card. The ailments that a doctor will prescribe medical marijuana to treat include anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and any type of general pain. Where does one find a doctor who will see it my way and prescribe marijuana for my problem? At the headshop! Not actually in the headshop mind you, but you can certainly get a referral there. The guy behind the counter will give you a doctor’s business card with the headshop name written on the back; the headshop gets a finder’s fee, the doctor gets some money, the patient gets marijuana. This opens up a lot of opportunity for impropriety. I should say that during the time that I lived in Colorado I never got a “red card”. When I first moved to Colorado I worked at a call center that was friendly to hiring people trying to get their lives back on track. I learned much of what you have read here from conversations with my co-workers. These were reliable sources on all things marijuana I assure you.
The Doctor’s Don’t Stop At Pot Either
Many of my co-workers at my first job in Colorado were on probation or parole and thus subject to weekly drug tests. Even if a patient was prescribed marijuana it was up to the probation or parole officer to decide if it was a violation of probation/parole terms. Many of my co-workers unable to enjoy their marijuana prescription after failing to convince their court officer that it was a medical necessity would go back to the same doctor and receive another prescription; this time for Adderall, Xanax, or the like. I knew a group of five guys who went to the same doctor that had prescribed a marijuana prescription and requested HGH (Human Growth Hormone) therapy. All five were prescribed the drug after quoting that they lacked libido lately. No matter how one feels about medical marijuana (or recreational marijuana for that matter) this network of “friendly” doctors all to ready to prescribe anything requested and storefronts selling designer drugs should be troubling.
When people consider voting for medical marijuana to be available these issues must be taken into consideration. This shady marketplace is sure to develop anywhere medical marijuana legislation is passed if people are not aware of these issues and the storefronts and doctors are left unchecked.