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Medical marijuana is legislative — not law enforcement — decision

Law enforcement has its view and we should certainly take that into account. But it is only one view. 

Law enforcement can't separate marijuana the commodity from marijuana trafficking.
REUTERS/Anthony Bolante

Law enforcement has a long history with marijuana. But they can’t separate marijuana the commodity from marijuana trafficking. They can only see the portion of this story that has been assigned to them.

Law enforcement cares little about what marijuana can be used for. What it can do to help people. Or what its potential economic benefits can be.

All they see is the illegal traffic. The drug dealers on the street. The money laundering. The people who abuse it.

That is why we cannot just let the law enforcement community hold a veto power over the use of marijuana. They have their view and we should certainly take that into account. But it is only one view. There are many more sides to this issue and those other sides probably have more relevance because they see beyond the legal road blocks and see where the potential benefits are.

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This is one policy issue where Governor Dayton is wrong. He has abdicated his legislative responsibility and given it to the myopic view of law enforcement. 

The medical aspects of this are more than compelling. They are heart breaking. And to lump this into a side note on a failed drug war mentality is just foolish. 

Law enforcement deals with enforcement of current laws. Laws which are outdated and outmoded. We should be focusing on changing those laws with the updated information that we have now. 

Personally, I think it would be simpler to just go the Colorado route and make marijuana legal — tax the heck out of it — and give a portion of the tax money to the underfunded budgets that law enforcement deals with.

Minnesota isn’t there yet. But we can work towards giving parents and chronic pain patients a means of help now.

We can make restrictive laws that can make marijuana accessible to the people who need it. It will be more complicated than removing marijuana from its illegal status, but it can be done.

We can treat it like we do orphan drugs. Orphan drugs are medications that are used for rare diseases that do not have a big enough market for full manufacturing status. But by screening people that need it, the drugs can be made directly available to them….shipped directly to them or a selected pharmacy outlet that meets detailed criteria.

Marijuana for medical use could be done that way, and law enforcement wouldn’t have to deal with the headaches of a potential mass market.

C’mon. We are better than this. We have a drug with a limited purpose that can do so much good and with so few long term side effects. 

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We can resolve this problem. This is not a law enforcement decision. This is a legislative one and leadership needs to act.

This post was written David Mindeman and originally published on mnpACT! Progressive Political Blog. Follow Dave on Twitter: @newtbuster.

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