Pubdate: Mon, 22 Sep 2014
Source: Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (WA)
Copyright: 2014 Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Author: Dawn Meicher


I'm thankful for the overwhelming support I received after speaking 
to Dayton City Council against the moratoriums on recreational and 
medical marijuana-related industry. More amazing since local papers 
whitewashed the details, I appreciate the U-B's reporting the issues 
I presented.

Legalization has freed my patients to discuss pot use, encouraging 
real discussion. These are professionals and business owners, workers 
afraid to speak prior fearing backlash and prejudice.

I try to educate on marijuana use, side effects and safety in a 
realistic manner wishing I had more data. But, since it is illegal 
under federal law, studies on marijuana are few. Education for health 
care providers is becoming available. I can't think of these patients 
as outcasts.

I am shocked local councils deny that society is treating pot in a 
new way. Prohibition since 1937 did not make marijuana go away. Its 
militarized police forces, caused untold grief - more than from the 
drug itself - from prosecution, harsh sentences, overcrowded 
expensive prisons; yet pot survived.

Humans overuse many things - caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sex, sugar, 
exercise, gambling, but none are illegal. All cause immeasurable harm 
in some people. Risky behavior by kids and adults is a social, public 
health and mental health problem, not criminal.

Apply the social and legal standings of wine to marijuana; relieve 
police of paperwork. Hard liquor is in local groceries, advertised 
out front. Treating wine so highly while denying pot as an industry, 
a social pleasure and a medicine is ludicrous.

Marijuana is showing promise on the medical front for multiple 
conditions. We need to allow study. Why deny its possibilities? 
Certifications for workers, college courses? A trillion dollars from 
the war on drugs, spent on addiction and mental health care?

Federal scheduling of marijuana, stricter than morphine, sends false 
messages that schedule II (oxycodone) or III (hydrocodone until Oct. 
6) drugs are safer than pot. Yet pot survives. Pot can be as 
intoxicating as alcohol, but no confirmed OD deaths; opiates are 
epidemic and cause death daily. Mental health, addiction treatment, 
medical beds are needed more than prison beds.

We cannot ban away pot. Voting to ban keeps black markets intact, 
products untested for contaminants, no age checks, no safety 
education, keeps grows on public lands, yet no tax money.

For patients, I want safety. Marijuana - harmful or helpful, like 
many drugs I prescribe as a nurse practitioner - has side effects, 
but enough NIMBY, pot is already there.

Dawn Meicher

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