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Who's Kidding Who?

Is there anyone who really believes that medical marijuana use is, well, really just medical? It's a sure bet that our State Drug Czar, Keith Kamita doesn't.

His full title is state Department of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division Chief and he points out that when the law passed a decade ago, about 200 people qualified for the drug. The number is now around 8,000.

A little math shows the number represents less than 1% of our population, which is good. But Kamita says that the number of those who actually suffer from the diseases marijuana was intended to treat (such as cancer pain or Crohn's disease) represent only about 2% of those who are prescribed the drug.

So, are some people getting legal weed simply to avoid prosecution for their habit? Probably. This wouldn't be much different than any other prescription drug, especially narcotics. The real question is how rampant this abuse is. That is much harder to pin down. A patient who states that marijuana helps for chronic headaches or nausea may be kidding themselves as much as their doctor -- or not. There simply isn't any way to see inside their head.

One way responsible medical professionals check these sorts of things is to do a wash out. A wash out means you take a patient off a drug and see if the condition returns and re-evaluate before prescribing the drug again. Because marijuana is considered fairly safe, it is less likely that a doctor will be bothered.

The end result is that despite of the complaints from our Czar, the situation is unlikely to change much. The ease of growing your own supply trumps previous attempts to stomp out weed -- even before it was made partially legal.

What's a Czar to do? The Federal law can be invoked for those caught with large amounts or the obvious intent to sell on the illegal market. Other than that, the answer is not much.


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