As expected, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s implementation of medical marijuana has incited endless media and political uproar. It’s a strange situation, as the carts circle so many politically connected and wealthy insiders who won many of the initial 20 provisional licenses.
The stranger situation? This is the same frenzied politico and media assembly that created this mess. What we’re getting now is just more bullshit. The same old prescription with a different prohibitive flavor–more safety, more regulations, more hearings. For that we can thank more uninformed and dangerous political hacks who are haphazardly hobbling us patients, plus placing more power in the wrong grandstanding hands while a virtually duopolized media blocks the sale of non-toxic, non-addictive herbal remedies.
Let’s start with a frequent Blunt Truth target, the Boston Herald, and its preeminent moonbat, Howie Carr. The rag’s recent op-ed, “Massachusetts going to pot,” insultingly bashes patients from the get-go: “State officials are now pedaling backwards as fast as they can,” it screeds, “to get themselves out of the mess they’ve made of the licensing process for those “medical” marijuana shops.”
The anonymous editorial further bloviates: “The list of lies, half-truths, obfuscations and misrepresentations unearthed by the Herald, the Boston Globe and the Boston Courant (apologies if we left out any of our other media colleagues) that were suddenly “news” to officials at the Department of Public Health is already long and growing among the 20 successful license applicants.”
Imagine that. The Globe and the Herald. Working hand-in-hand. Against patients. Nice to see that they can finally agree on something.
Meanwhile, the Herald and most others have neglected to acknowledge that through all this hoopla, patient caregiver services have been tragically shut down. Opportunities initially allowed registered providers to grow small amounts of weed for patients. Now, the physiological fallout that individuals have suffered as a result is being conveniently ignored. In the Herald, the patient’s perspective doesn’t seem to constitute news.
Along with others, the Herald has also slammed Roxbury applicants Green Heart Holistic Health and Pharmaceuticals, as well as the DPH because someone once listed as the president of that operation has convicted felon status. Never mind that his conviction was for marijuana. God forbid that we have people who know cannabis winning dispensary licenses, monopolized or not.
From the Herald, to the Globe, to the asshole on your local evening news, nearly everyone has failed to realistically acknowledge that these manufactured scandals harm the patients who need medicine. I’ve scanned the stories, damn near all of them, and the concern is rarely raised. Nor is any legitimate reason given for these corny and repetitive “safety” campaigns. What’s the cost-benefit analysis of all this over-the-top regulation and the residual fallout? Those are questions most local outlets won’t ask. Because they’re cashing in on the insanity.
There are other vitals they’re ignoring. These esteemed publications largely fail to solicit the opinion of the 63 percent of voters who supported medical weed in 2012. At the same time, they don’t consider how neighboring Rhode Island and Maine have implemented model programs that are both safe and accessible for patients. They haven’t asked how those states found success. Because they don’t give a shit.
The irony is thick. After all, we’ve been told by the same outlets that we’re best off with a regulatory system in which large and licensed dispensaries trump small-potatoes caregivers. This familiar gang of hecklers sold us the most highly regulated program in the country, which has increasingly meant services will cost patients an arm-and-a-leg. Again–why isn’t the Boston media asking about these services being squashed in favor of a seemingly unfair monopolistic model?
While the Herald is an easy target, the mostly otherwise respectable Globe is no better on these matters. There, business columnist Shirley Leung actually wrote in a recent stinker, “Here we are ushering in a controversial new business that is illegal in most other states and arguably the gateway to legalizing recreational marijuana use in Massachusetts. The process to get one of 35 licenses should be a lot tougher than this.” This from a business page that otherwise endorses unfettered capitalism, from fossil fuels to any kind of unhinged capitalist fuckery imaginable.
What’s completely missing, of course, is that this isn’t just a case of a controversial new business being put on trial, but rather of a controversial medical model with an absurd bar for entry in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. All Leung seems to care about is how “a team led by former congressman Bill Delahunt could get three of the coveted licenses.”
The real issue is that Delahunt’s group navigated a political and regulatory process that not-sees like Leung are now demanding more of. More regulations, more oversight, more hoops, more money, more insiders, more monied interests battling over control of a plant. Bring on more billing hours for lobbyists and “safety” consultants. Let’s make it more profitable for ex-cops running security at dispensaries. Might as well invite the likes of Donald Trump and whichever Kennedy is for pot these days to open up shop. That way it will be even harder for patients to cover costs.
“We’ve been trying to get that side out from our local patients in the media since this stuff broke,” says Matt Allen, Executive Director of Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance. “It’s been tough … where is the coverage of how not implementing will hurt patients?”
Allen continues: “I get the calls from patients looking for access. It really is extraordinary and truly heartbreaking … patients are waiting and they simply can’t wait. There was a tremendous amount of excitement for people to finally see this getting closer to being implemented when the permits were provisionally awarded … people knew their loved ones would finally, at long last, get access to their medicine … [Now], people are suffering, and it shouldn’t be that way over local politics with more calls for added bureaucracy.”
I wonder how much more of this prohibitionist smoke screen Boston media and politicians think patients are willing to take.