It seemed impossible, but more than 13 years after most Washington DC residents approved the sale and consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes, local authorities issued licenses to six companies to grow marijuana in the city. And some of the premises are a few blocks from the White House.
These permits, as well as the local laws that authorize them, are in direct conflict with the federal drug policy. Which still considers illegal the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana. Even if it has medical purposes and has been prescribed by a doctor.
Although medical cannabis retailers are at risk of raids and arrests by federal government agencies. A store of hydroponic equipment and supplies specializing in marijuana has already opened in Washington. That hopes to offer services not only to authorized companies but also to patients with Prescriptions that your crops won’t.
Those who advocate the decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs say that it is only a matter of time before the government yields “common sense” to eliminate its restrictions. However, President Barack Obama maintains his firm opposition to the legalization of drugs. Both in the United States as in other producing countries of Latin America and other regions.
“Supermarket” of marijuana
The citizens of Washington DC voted overwhelmingly in 1998. For the legalization of the sale and consumption of marijuana for people suffering from serious diseases. Such as cancer, HIV-AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma.
But only in May 2010, the City Council approved the legislation. And only this week awarded licenses for the cultivation of the plant for expressly medicinal purposes. US capital It joins 16 other states with similar laws.
There was strong opposition from several lobbyists such as the Coalition of Communities Against Drugs (CADCA), they demonstrated against the consumption of any type of marijuana, recreational or medicinal.
“Not only it sends the wrong message to youth. But it also puts the safety and public health of Washington DC at risk. As well as that of the city’s families,” they said in a statement to the BBC.
CADCA stresses that government experts have not recognized the medicinal properties of marijuana.
More significant, there is uncertainty about how the federal law enforcement agencies will react. Which have not sanctioned the program, a few days ago a hydroponic crop warehouse was inaugurated a few kilometers from the White House.
In California, the raids against legal, medical marijuana sales continue.
The expert stressed that such advice could only be given to patients. Who present a medical prescription for the consumption of the herb and who are registered with the city health department.
“The law prohibits me from specifically discussing the issue of marijuana with those who do not have verifiable documents,” said Adam Rich, but added that any customer could buy the store’s assortment to grow other plants.
As federal authorities still consider the cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana to be a crime under any pretext, as well as the sale of paraphernalia and literature that encourages it, some places run the risk of police raids and even arrests.
“There is always a concern that a federal agency, a malicious police officer, maybe thinking of a raid,” he said. “This is still happening in California, where there is a lot of hostility from the medical marijuana lawsuits.”
According to the Alliance on Drug Policy, a group that advocates the end of the war on drugs and the treatment of drugs as a matter of health and not criminal justice, agencies such as the DEA (US Drug Enforcement Agency). ) have increased their operations against medical marijuana stores.
The Treasury Department threatens to prosecute banks where these stores have accounts, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Weapons (ATF) states that a medical marijuana patient who owns a firearm will receive a conviction of Ten years in jail.
“The pressure is enormous,” Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the alliance, told the BBC. “Obama’s policy against medical marijuana is worse than that of Bush. It is more aggressive and less compassionate.”
Double standard to grow marijuana
But Piper points out that the federal government does not have the resources to walk by opening a process against each person who owns a few grams of grass or to its retailers, after all, it is the local Washington police that is in charge of order in the Most of the city.
“Obama is in a difficult situation and can’t do anything,” said the lobbyist. “The pattern is unquestionably on our side. And it will set aside the administration next to no effort to change approach.”
That’s what Jeffrey Schaler, a psychologist and professor at the School of Public Affairs at the American University of Washington, agrees. However, the author of several books on addictions and drugs says there are too many vested interests in the war on drugs for a prompt review of federal laws.
“The drug warriors,” as he calls them, “are making a lot of money with the ban on marijuana. From companies that build prisons, to federal agencies like the DEA.”
According to Professor Schaler, these stakeholders lobby and donate money to political campaigns to continue “demonizing” marijuana.”It is pure politics, but it is intimidating to see an intelligent person like Obama who yields to these pressures and does not listen to common sense.”
He also criticized the fact that the White House will sooner or later have to accept the sale and consumption of medical marijuana. While opposing its legalization in other countries.
“Obama will have to live with the hypocrisy of this position or have the courage to change,” said the academic.”He will have to realize, as they have done in Latin America. Smoking marijuana is a crime that does not make victims. You cannot prosecute someone who uses something that makes them feel better.”