Reality check on medical marijuana

Growers got a good deal, but what about non-growers?

Let’s be real: Medical marijuana is a joke. Everybody knows most of it goes to get people high, but still we persist in the pretense that it’s all about sick people getting access to their medicine.

You can blame this surreal state of affairs on the fuzziness of Proposition 215 or the failure of the state Legislature to pass laws that do a better job of controlling access to the herb. Or you can just accept the reality that some people like getting high on marijuana and there’s really not much society can do about it.

In Washington and Colorado, citizens have voted to legalize marijuana and collect taxes on its sale. That’s a realistic approach. It doesn’t buy into the charade that everyone who smokes pot is ill.

Which brings us to the medical-marijuana ordinance that the Butte County Board of Supervisors passed last week. It’s the best of the three the board has considered so far, but it’s really just more of the same—a phony but legal arrangement that everyone understands is just a way for pot farmers to grow their crop and sell it to whoever has the money to pay for it.

Actually, we’re OK with that. Marijuana will eventually be legal in California, and this current situation is temporary. Besides, it brings millions of dollars into the area.

At the same time, though, neither the county nor any of its cities have created a way for people who are legitimately in need of pot for its medicinal value, and who are not growers themselves, to obtain their medicine legally. Most of the pot grown in Butte County will either enter the black market or make its way to dispensaries elsewhere.

How is an elderly woman suffering from cancer who lives in an apartment supposed to obtain her medicine? Until local officials can answer that question, they have not fully implemented Proposition 215. They’ve just made sure pot growers can rake in the dough.