Pubdate: Tue, 06 Apr 2010
Source: Times Argus (Barre, VT)
Copyright: 2010 Times Argus
Author: Denny Lane


In regards to Senate Bill S. 226 on medical marijuana  dispensaries, 
I'd like to make the following points.

While it's great that patients are no longer subject to  arrest for 
medical marijuana, many still have to turn  to drug dealers to get 
access to the medicine they  need.

Since Vermont has no legal distribution system,  patients who 
purchase their medicine have to pay black  market prices, more than 
they would pay if they could  buy it legally.

Patients with debilitating diseases like cancer or  HIV/AIDS aren't 
physically able to grow their own  marijuana or wait three months for 
plants to mature,  and the last thing we should be doing is putting 
them  in harms way by sending them to drug dealers.

In other states with regulated distribution, state  health 
departments only need one or two staffers to  manage the entire 
program, including patient ID cards,  which Vermont already 
processes. By setting reasonable  application and registration fees 
for compassion center operators, the program could easily pay for 
itself. In  New York a dispensary system was added to the 
Senate's  budget proposal for the upcoming year because 
it's  expected to generate so much revenue.

This proposal won't change who qualifies. The law will  still require 
patients to have serious conditions and  an ongoing relationship with 
their recommending  physician.

Studies by law enforcement agencies in Denver and Los  Angeles showed 
that dispensaries there were less likely  to be robbed than area 
banks, and that they were no  more likely to be robbed than pharmacies.

Denny Lane

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