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September 18, 2008

Connecting More Dots (Personal)

I haven’t tried to hide the fact that writing for this blog has evolved into a personal learning experience. At first it was driven by a perceived need to explain the merits of an unusual clinical study of illegal drug use to skeptics. However, by the time that study was published, I’d become aware that all sides of the medical issue had unique, and somewhat different, ideas of  “valid” use.  Since only a small minority of reform activists seemed to agree with the picture my study suggested, it was ignored, even though it was the only one attempting to describe cannabis applicants as a population.

What I would next learn were the lengths to which federal and local supporters of pot prohibition would go to restrict the gray market that began developing within the state right after 215 passed. At first that market was visible only in the Bay Area, scattered pockets up North,  and a few special venues like WAMM in Santa Cruz, and LARC, a club in West Hollywood with a large gay clientele. The two latter were among the first raided by the DEA after they joined local police in attempting to suppress a growing (and gradually more visible) medical market.

That was a few years before local police began coordinated lobbying of local governments to shut down retail outlets already operating in the community by denying them business licenses or preventing new ones from opening. Apparently what had transpired was an increase in patients with “recommendations,” produced in turn,  by the quiet state-wide expansion of two Bay Area “pot doc” operations. More patients meant more demand for retail pot in venues offering choice, convenience, and stable (if inflated) prices. The largest areas of growth were San Diego, LA, and the Central Valley, tending to confirm the huge size of the illegal market and suggesting (to me, at least) it may actually be far more “medical” than anyone realizes (or admits).

Typically, the other confirmatory evidence was a negative: none of the literally hundreds of local accounts of municipal council meetings written by cub reporters I read in 2004 and 2005 betrayed the slightest hint that their perspective even included  passage of the initiative in 1996.

Other phenomena supporting the notion that most repetitive pot use is medical are the recent global increase in prevalence of anxiety syndromes, the growing popularity (and profitability) of psychotropic pharmaceuticals, and the sudden “epidemic” of obesity, all of which I think reflect the gradually increasing toll of stress on a human population that’s been growing larger, more competitive, and more resentful by the year.  

Doctor Tom 

Posted by tjeffo at September 18, 2008 07:33 PM