California State Senator Scott Wiener Bids to Deliver Medical Cannabis
Scott Wiener is a youngster by U.S. political standards at a tender age of 52. He has a great reputation for tackling social issues, including facilitating more housing construction. Wiener also championed a number of issues around HIV and LGBT rights. We can therefore assume his heart is in the right place as he bids to deliver medical cannabis to users.
Wiener is a California local who also happens to be openly gay, according to his Wikipedia page. Therefore he is no stranger to prejudice, and fully supports the rights of fellow Californians to direct their own lives. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School. Then he was San Francisco deputy city attorney until becoming senator in December 2016
Wiener described himself as “bold, majestic, charitable, and tall’ on his 2016 ballot paper. He can’t understand why California cities are allowed to ban medical cannabis deliveries. Just because a bunch of self-opinionated bigots decide they have a right to interfere in other peace-loving people’s rights.
Those extremists could be conflicting with fellow Americans’ civil rights and liberties like freedom of speech, press, religion, and the right to sit under a tree. We are fortunate to have bold, charitable lawyers like Wiener prepared to protect our freedom. And that includes our right to medical cannabis to treat our ailments, especially in the privacy of our homes.
We are not debating the case for social marijuana at this particular point in this article. National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws NORML defines the medical variety as “part of humanity’s medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded”. Its powers include treating neuropathic pain arising from damage or injury, as well as nausea, spasticity, and movement disorders.
So we can’t understand why on earth some California cities claim the right to deprive their residents of this wonderfully green, organic benefit. Even U.S. Food and Drug Administration is on record saying “FDA recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer. And acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities”.
FDA is, by its own words “taking steps to improve the efficiency of regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of appropriate cannabis and cannabis-derived products”. Therefore, despite what Wiener’s critics may say, the bold, majestic, charitable, and tall California senator is rowing in the same direction as the American administration.
The U.S. government encouraged marijuana cultivation in the 17th century, for production of rope, sails and clothing. It’s not unreasonable to picture settlers puffing on a pipe or two after a tough day out in the fields. All was good until a wave of pot patronizing Mexicans took the knock for a crime wave in 1910.
By 1937 the weed was outlawed throughout America, no doubt with encouragement from a liquor industry recovering from prohibition. Following protests in the seventies the current state of play in California is as follows:
- Legal use of medical marijuana was approved in 1996 in terms of the Compassionate Use Act.
- Twenty years later California approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act permitting recreational use.
However and here’s the catch, a loophole in the regulations allows local governments to prohibit deliveries to users. Could you imagine a wheelchair patient being told to collect their pain medication from a drug store in person? Well, you better learn fast, because that’s exactly how many California cities treat medical marijuana patients!
However, we finally have some good news to report on this dismal tale. California City News reported April 28, 2022 Wiener’s Senate Bill 1186 passed the first hurdle in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. It can now proceed to the next stage at the Senate Appropriations Committee, where its fiscal implications will be under the spotlight.
The main thrust of the Bill would allow cities and counties to permit either licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, licensed medical cannabis deliveries, or both to operate. The full text of the Bill is available at California Legislative Information.
Furthermore, California City News adds it would also prohibit “unreasonable restrictions on the safe and affordable sale of medicinal cannabis to medicinal cannabis patients, or their primary caregivers by medicinal cannabis businesses”.
Wiener played the ball skillfully at the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. “Medical cannabis is life-saving for so many people, and it’s not acceptable for 62% of California cities to ban people from actually purchasing it” he insisted.
“Everyone needs and deserves access – as guaranteed by California voters who passed Proposition 215 almost 30 years ago. When cities ban purchasing medical cannabis, it denies access, and fuels the illegal market. SB 1186 restores medical cannabis access for those who need it.”
We’d like to add, in case you haven’t heard, that medical cannabis is a vital, life-saving medicine for some. Especially those who cannot, or will not take drugs for their arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, neurodegenerative disorders, and many other sicknesses for personal reasons.
We agree with the provision that stores should have the right to dispense, deliver or both, and require proof of delivery to the right person if necessary. However, we’re a little disappointed the measure is silent on recreational cannabis, although Wiener may be wise not to distract from the core issue.
As things stand, archaic proposition 64 of 2016 still allows California cities to force recreational use underground, by prohibiting recreational cannabis retail in their jurisdictions. Most California cities have agreed to this. A staggering two-thirds prohibit sale of both recreational and medicinal marijuana products.
We wish Wiener the power of the people behind him as battles with opposition from California naysayers and bigots. California City News includes League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, and Rural County Representatives of California among staunch opponents on their list.
Those reactionaries claim the bill would “would severely undermine local decision-making under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act”. We prefer to believe it would underpin the rights of residents to direct the path of their governments.
Author: Richard Farrell (Dark Matters)