Our law allows doctors to prescribe marijuana for a range of illnesses including severe pain, the effects of chemotherapy, glaucoma and nausea. Only 3% of Oregon's doctors have prescribed marijuana for 2 or more patients.
10 doctors account for two-thirds of the current and pending marijuana card requests. Two doctors -- Dr. Phillip Leveque of Molalla and Dr. Larry Bogart of Roseburg -- have been disciplined by the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners for inappropriate recommendation of medical marijuana. Leveque, an 81-year-old osteopath, had his license suspended in March and revoked in October. He said he had signed several thousand medical marijuana requests. The board in October also stripped Bogart, a 66-year-old psychiatrist who said he has signed more than 1,000 medical marijuana applications during the past five years, of his ability to treat children, prescribe controlled drugs or sign marijuana card applications. Red Orbit 2005
Dr. Phillip Leveque has granted 49.7 percent of Oregon's medical-marijuana cards since the law went into effect in May 1999. New York Times 2002
There are 10 TIMES MORE people in California than in Oregon but close to the same number of medical marijuana cards (OR: 50,000 and CA: 53,000). Even more glaring are the current year numbers: 8,600 new cards in California this year versus 23,000 new applications in Oregon the same year.
Forgive me if I'm a bit cynical about this program. I do not deny that marijuana -- like all drugs -- likely has valuable medical uses. But when the same organizations pushing for recreational legalization are the main advocates for medical marijuana patients, it's hard to focus on the medical issues. And when a handful of doctors travel the state, advertising they'll be staying in a room at the local hotel to meet new patients and then prescribe one drug and one drug only for whatever ails the walk-ins, I tend a bit to cynicism.
Could we look past the ruse of medical use? This is, always has been and likely will continue to be primarily a recreational drug. It is not a good reason to fill our prisons to overflowing with users and dealers. But we do need to find a reasonable response to the real situation. The Oregon Legislature's latest response is to double the card fee from $100 to $200. Not sure how that addresses the problem exactly but it's one of the few responses they could pass.
I'm guessing that since I offended half of my friends with my prior Sports blog, I've just lost the other half.
See also: Walk
You Can Take a Pill for That
Sex and the Middle Schooler