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Who's In Charge Of The Store?

1374 words - 5 pages

Who should be regulating medical marijuana? Majority leader of the California State Assembly, Alberto Torrico asserts that marijuana, used for medicinal purposes, should be legal and regulated to ensure safe, pesticide free, organic cannabis. However, Torrico maintains non-medical marijuana should remain illegal for all California citizens who do not have a physician diagnosed medical need, such as AIDS or cancer. He contents that advancing the cause of legalizing marijuana to provide additional tax revenue, in an effort to balance the California state budget, would be a mistake. Furthermore he stresses the need for statewide comprehensive regulations, for all aspects of medical marijuana production, from the growing fields, through harvest, including product testing, physician prescription monitoring, and dispensing controls to provide safe guards for the patient. Torrico also advocates security regulations that would establish how many marijuana dispensaries could be in a single community, how much could be dispensed at one time, qualifying dispensary personnel, and regulating facility security measures required at a dispensary. Torrico argues that medical marijuana needs closer regulation however; he suggests statewide regulations, similar to the regulation of alcohol and tobacco (Torrico). If medical marijuana is to be classified as a drug, defined in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as, “a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.” (383) it must be regulated by the same federal agencies that regulate all drugs.
Torrico advocates the use of marijuana for medical purposes but voices concern over the push to legalize marijuana, as a stop gap to bolster the state budget via increased tax revenue. Torrico states, “While I am a supporter of medical marijuana, a decision to legalize a powerful drug in order to balance our budget would be a critical mistake and would jeopardize public safety.” Torrico focuses his concerns regarding legalizing marijuana on safety. His arguments are based specifically on the lack of regulatory policies in place, for medical marijuana. He notes that the regulations in California for medical marijuana are handled by county authorities. This arrangement has left the state with a system that is disorganized and inconsistent allowing for abuses such as criminal cartels taking over the supply, and in some cases the control, of some of the dispensaries. Torrico states emphatically that it is time for strong statewide oversight of the medical marijuana system. Although additional regulation is needed, putting statewide regulations in place is not the answer. There is no need to establish new regulatory agencies when the agencies needed to provide the necessary policies for safe, effective production and distribution of medical marijuana currently exist at the federal level. Medical Marijuana needs to be reclassified by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and...

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