Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jun 2010
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Copyright: 2010 Daily News, L.P.


Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: Out-of-control  marijuana
sales authorized by state lawmakers - key  among them Assemblyman
Richard Gottfried and state Sen.  Tom Duane.

These two have engineered a supposed medical marijuana  law that
would, in fact, be a license for legalized  pot-dealing, potentially
in thousands of storefronts  across the city.

Under their bill, even podiatrists and midwives could  prescribe dope
to practically any patient with  virtually any health complaint - who
would then be able  to stop by the local storefront joint joint
without  fear of arrest.

The evils of this scheme are blatantly obvious from the  nightmare
that unfolded in Los Angeles after passage of  California's medical
marijuana law in 1996.

That city now has upward of 700 pot shops -  outnumbering even
Starbucks locations.

The "patients" are overwhelmingly males ranging from  their teens to
late 20s - not exactly the seriously ill  demographic.

And testing has shown that practically all of the dope  originated
with violent Mexican gangs and often is  laced with pesticides.

"I think about the Mexican drug cartels hooting all the  way to the
bank as we silly Americans bankroll them,"  says assistant Los Angeles
city attorney Jane Usher.

Told of the terms that Duane and Gottfried have written  into their
bill, Usher said:

"I'm as concerned for your residents as I am for ours  about the
implications of this insufficiently regulated  model."

Look at who could get marijuana under this Cheech and  Chong plan:
Anyone with a "severe debilitating or  life-threatening condition" and
their associated  complications and symptoms. While that sounds
restrictive, it opens potential loopholes not found in  the law
recently passed by New Jersey.

That statute limits availability to people with certain  specified
diseases, such as AIDS, cancer and Lou  Gehrig's disease.

Look who can dispense the stuff: Any medical  "practitioner," a
category that includes chiropractors  and nurses.

In New Jersey, only medical doctors can recommend  marijuana, and only
in a genuine physician-patient  relationship.

Look at where Duane and Gottfried would allow pot shops  to open:
Anywhere, with no limit on the number of  locations.

Los Angeles is imposing a 70-store cap, and ordering  them away from
schools and playgrounds.

The New York bill fails to demand criminal background  checks on
operators, fails to say where they could get  merchandise, and fails
to give City Hall any say-so  over how they operate.

Despite these glaring flaws, Duane and Gottfried,  chairmen of their
respective health committees, have  teed up the bill for passage. The
Assembly has twice  okayed similar measures, and Deputy Senate
Majority  Leader Jeff Klein of the Bronx predicts this one will  be
included in, of all places, the budget bill. The  idea is that dope
shop fees would bring in $15 million  a year.

There is a right way and a wrong way to approach  medical marijuana.
The right way would be to strictly  limit those who could prescribe
it, the conditions  permitting prescriptions and the number of
distribution  locations. Say one per borough in a major health care

The wrong way is the Duane-Gottfried way. This is  madness. You know
what kind. 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D