How Do You Spell ReLeaf

After hand counting votes in this recent election, Arizona will become the 15th State to legalize medical marijuana. It’s only a matter of time before others will follow suit because it’s big business.

Three weeks ago the Colorado Springs Independent included a pullout supplement called ReLeaf, devoted to the issue of medical marijuana. Forty-eight pages stuffed with advertisements for businesses with names like Mile High Mike’s, Happy Buddha and Healthy Connections. Legal marijuana distributors are flush with cash and are spending it advertising their wares; and it’s keeping local businesses and communities alive.

Medical marijuana distribution is becoming increasingly competitive; distributors are already offering marketing strategies like free pipes packed with marijuana to first-time buyers; and “naughty nurses tending to patients needs”. For $35 you can get a medical evaluation and apply via toll-free number or online. From chronic pain, to feeling sad, anxious, or aggressive, a doctor will prescribe it to help you. We’re going to see the 21st century equivalent of the 19th century gold rush. Lots of people with physical and emotional aches and pains are going to apply. People will declare themselves ill; doctors will go along with it and write prescriptions.

Let’s just legalize it as we did alcohol (which is far more toxic), and teach people how to use it wisely because; we simply can’t afford the costs of prosecuting users and growers; it creates a thriving criminal market; and we need the tax revenues to sustain our cities and support community health services.

But let me add this cautionary note, marijuana may be good medicine, but I’m of the opinion that we have to tighten regulations; for example don’t sell it to kids under 18 and no dispensaries near public schools; don’t use it if you’re pregnant; and require dispensaries to offer preventative health programs that teach the difference between the gift this medicine represents and its potential for dependency.