My initial response to the Dec. 28 editorial, “Pot dispensary a pharmacy, not a social lounge,” was to slap my forehead and gasp, “I could have had a (popular vegetable-based beverage).” Actually, that’s the polite version.

The lounge atmosphere of the California marijuana scam was clearly known long before Maine advocates decided to emulate it.

Cannabinoids do have some medical applications, and several products have been available for quite some time through the existing pharmaceutical distribution system. Research to develop others is ongoing. This is the manner in which numerous other nature-based medicines originated, but it is the only one I know of where a psychoactive natural substance is used in its raw form.

Patients preparing for oral surgery, for example, are not provided with a fistful of leaves to chew, a pipe, or a straw and a line of “toot.” Patients in need of opiate pain management are not issued kits of “works” or wheeled into an opium den, where they can smoke their pain away.

Research into the medical applications of marijuana’s therapeutic components largely focuses on cannabinoid molecules other than THC that are not psychoactive. In other words, the patient is able to experience the medical benefits of the substance without getting high.

“Medical marijuana” is an undeniable farce. The purpose of the movement in Maine, as well as in California, has clearly been to do an end run around marijuana’s long-standing status as an illegal drug.

Deeply inhaling the smoke of burning vegetation for your health? The compassion is pure camouflage, denial, or both.

There are legitimate justifications for considering revision of current marijuana laws to permit and regulate private use as the recreational drug it is. That rational and ethical path should be taken instead.

Jeff Marsh


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