What Caused Medical Marijuana to Catch Fire in 2009?

marijuana-leafThe Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy didn’t buy this woman’s story that her 14-year-old son could use pot medicinally. But more and more Americans are gaining access to the drug for such purposes.

On the heels of a medical marijuana trial here in Kitsap County, in which an Olalla man was vindicated for growing pot and attempting to sell it, other states around the country have been grappling with legislation to allow the drug’s medicinal use.

In fact, 2009 may become the most pivotal year for marijuana since 1937. In Illinois, a medical marijuana bill just cleared a legislative committee. In New Jersey, such legislation has passed the senate. In New Hampshire, it’s passed the house. A measure in Pennsylvania has cropped up. A bill in Minnesota has a good chance of passing (though Gov. Tim Pawlenty has vowed to veto it).

One state, Michigan, is starting to implement a law passed by voters last fall. Up to 50,000 people may apply to use it, according to the Detroit News.

But what made 2009 the year that could signficantly bolster the number of states that use medical marijuana?

One shift comes federally, according to USA Today:

(U.S.) Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that his agents will seek criminal charges only when both state and U.S. laws are violated. That signaled a shift from the Bush administration, whose agents raided several centers that dispense marijuana in California, where state law permits its medical use. Twelve other states also allow medical marijuana, but U.S. law prohibits its use for any reason.

There was a time when state politicians wouldn’t touch the medical marijuana issue. If constituents wanted one, they had to go the initiative route, as Washington did in 1998. Now, quite interestingly, those same politicians are comfortable not only introducing such legislation in state capitols around the country, but voting for it.

Bill Piper, the national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance, is quoted by USA Today as saying: “The politics around marijuana are changing.”

I disagree. The changing politics of medical marijuana are self-evident. The politics of recreational marijuana use are another matter. Massachusetts did indeed pass an eyebrow raising law last year, and some rogue lawmakers have introduced legislation arguing for legalization during tough economic times. But the efforts appear to me to be strikingly different.

Take our president’s attitude on the subject. Along the campaign trail, Obama was supportive to, at very least, a discussion of medical marijuana policy. But when asked recently about legalizing it recreationally to help the ailing economy, Obama’s response was a laugh.

10 thoughts on “What Caused Medical Marijuana to Catch Fire in 2009?

  1. “What Caused Medical Marijuana to Catch Fire in 2009?”

    A failed health care system and huge governmental budget deficits.

    And, probably, increasing awareness that the myriad pharmaceuticals that are being marketed/prescribed are really doing more harm than good.

  2. I think the fact that we have had a decade of non-over the counter prescription drugs on TV has made people more likely to be open to other forms of medication.

    It seems you can’t turn on TV without hearing about the corporate drug pushers commercials for penis pills or weight loss pills yet the legal hypocrisy over such a mild natural herbal treatment is phenomenal.

  3. Some twenty years ago a family friend, dying of cancer, mentioned how guilty she felt smoking marijuana…but her doctor had suggested she try it…that it might help her.

    She told me it did help but felt guilty nonetheless.
    Her experience was the main key to cause me to vote for legalizing medical use marijuana.

    That said: I am glad when a COPD advertisement is shown on TV… that means the word gets out though I don’t remember what drug they’re selling.

    I think the barrage of ads for over-the-counter drugs are equal to or more dangerous than the few ads for prescription drugs for a medical condition.

    People usually don’t think over-the-counter drugs can be every bit as powerful as the prescription drugs and sometimes deadly if there is a negative reaction from a side effect.

    Folks should show the pharmacist a copy of every drug they take – over-the-counter/prescription – before buying anything else to be sure the ingredients are compatible.
    And give updated lists to their doctors…
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  4. Responsible adults desire to govern themselves.

    People are ready to question and challenge big government policies that make no sense- they are beginning to realize the drug war is a failure.

    It is not just about marijuana-

    Big business and big government have let us down- we put a man on the moon in ’69 and we can’t even operate a safe peanut butter factory.

    Our major political parties take turns in power, but a pro war/anti freedom agenda still seems to remain in place. If it is about freedom- when do we get to take delivery on that freedom?

    It’s not just medical marijuana- the federal government now says your concealed carry permit is void on National Parks lands within your home state.

    18-20 year old adults are prohibited from drinking a beer- using- not abusing alcohol.

    People resent being told that individual responsibility has no place in their daily lives.

    In the aftermath of last summer’s incident- where a legal Washington State medical marijuana user- with a legal amount of medical marijuana- was cited by the US Border Patrol at a local checkpoint (charges against Mr Dixon dropped after he sweated hiring a lawyer- did so – and went to court) The US Border Patrol- on Feb 25th, 2009- at a public forum in Port Townsend- stated that small quantities of marijuana will be referred to “state and local” authorities- truly confusing in the case of medical marijuana.

    Video here: http://tinyurl.com/czowft

  5. I think Jacob is right with his answer. That, coupled with an extremely liberal Congress and President who seem willing to take the country as far left as possible, has made it a good year for agendas like this.

  6. The jails are full, the treasury is empty and there are still real criminals roaming the streets committing acts of violence, vandalism and theft. Do we need more reasons to stop incarcerating people for cannabis, to stop wasting money on cops,courts and jails?

    Cannabis was one of the 1st plants domesticated by humans, as recent archeology has shown. Humanity has lived with this plant for over 10,000 years, but congress in its infinite wisdom outlawed it for no legitimate reason. A plant that provides, food, fiber and medicine is a fine thing indeed and it is time we restored it to the pharmacopia that all mankind might benefit.

    Lets put the real criminals in jail, the rapists, the murderers, the thieves, but lets admit we cannot afford to arrest let alone incarcerate everyone who grows, smokes or owns marijuana. It makes law enforcement look impotent as they try to hold back a tidal wave with a popsicle stick and it sends the wrong message to the kids, that we would rather jail the sick then help them.

  7. It was really disappointing that Obama changed his stand with the marijuana issue. Many people were expecting the legalization of Marijuana for medicinal purpose and all he gave was a laugh..

  8. There are many pros and cons to the use of medical marijuana. One of the positive uses of pot is in medical purposes. Marijuana may help people who have serious medical ailments with pain management. An example is the presence of marijuana clubs that cater to patients using medical marijuana for treatment. For more on this topic visit http://medicalpot.com . Most importantly pot is known to help reduce cell growth in cancer patients.

  9. What doctor is prescribing mj to a 14 yr old?? Isn’t this child abuse. Just like blowing mj smoke in a kids face, or smoking a cigarette in a car with children in the back seat? What does that due to a kids lungs or brains? What ever happened to the mother or the doctor or the boy? Nothing! My guess is that CPS didn’t even investigate.

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