This is near-heresy to say in my current position as a scribe for an alternative publication, but when Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts writes that our state's medical marijuana program is a "charade," I kinda agree with her.
Of course, I have it on good authority from a former Rep reporter who shall remain nameless that journalists at Sand Land's paper of record have to pee in a cup to get hired there.
Hell, you even have to pee in a cup to bag a part-time job as a production assistant for a Gannett TV station in Missouri. Sheesh.
Also, imbibing alcohol on duty is a firing offense at the Rep. Which may explain why the Republic's reporters are such a crabby bunch. (Roberts excepted, natch.)
A news hound who doesn't drink? That's plain un-American.
Jesus, I've never done the pee test to get a job. Even when I worked for a bank and handled people's freaking investments.
Which gives you an idea of where the Rep's comin' from.
Still, Roberts' kvetch on medical ganja being more about getting baked than easing pain (other than the pain of existence) matches the anecdotal evidence I've amassed.
That is, everyone I know who has a medical marijuana card, or plans to get one, simply wants to smoke weed with impunity.
This includes people I know in Cali, where finding a doctor to write you a scrip for some medical grade herb is about as difficult as purchasing a bus pass.
Or so they tell me.
Roberts offers these stats to back up what's intuitive: Of the 34,000 mm-card holders in Cactus Country, "3.76 percent use marijuana to ease the symptoms of cancer...1.53 percent suffer from glaucoma while 1.06 percent have AIDS."
Also, Roberts writes, "89.8 percent - 30,203 people - are seeking relief for `severe and chronic pain.'"
Most of these are dudes, and the largest percentage are between the ages of 18 and 30.
In other words, prime smokin' age.
Roberts suggests it'd be intellectually honest to just legalize cheeba and tax it. I agree, but this ain't really about intellectual honesty, now is it?
It's about having access to a controlled substance without needing to worry about one of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's prosecutors hitting you with a felony for mere possession.
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And it's about having that legal access in a state that's redder than Santa's backside.
Think of it as nudging us toward legalization, incrementally, so as not to freak out the oldster wingnuts who over-populate this state.
Seems perfectly legitimate to me. Now if the corporate fascists at Gannett decide to pee test an employee, it's hands off if the employee has an mm-card.
Which is a good thing. Thankfully, I don't need a prescription for my chronic pain cure of choice: Bourbon. And lots of it.