The 4th of July is upon us, which of course means it’s time for the annual watching of Independence Day!
On a recent viewing, while getting choked up at Bill Pullman’s rousing presidential address, before the citizens of earth battle aliens for the fate of the world, (you know the one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoLywiaM6PA) something stuck with us here at Bloom Room, “we will be united in our common interest…”
Here in California, we were wise to have been early adopters of the amazing medicine that cannabis is. While there are still many struggles faced by the medical cannabis community within the state, we are very fortunate to have safe and dependable access to medical cannabis. Elsewhere, many Americans are still suffering.
Twenty-seven states still lack any form of access to medical cannabis, and many of the legalized twenty-three (and D.C.) lack actual infrastructure to support the laws that have passed.
In Illinois, for example, medical cannabis was passed into law “effective” January 1, 2014. In the year and a half that has followed, 2,500 patients have been approved for medical cannabis. While initial patient numbers were hopeful, applicant numbers have begun to trickle recently for some reason.
It might be that of the 2,500 approved patients in the state, not a single one has legal access to medicine yet.
This is because Illinois just approved its first growers and dispensaries for operation in February of this year. The matter was in bureaucratic gridlock for months (http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Rauner-Awards-Medical-Marijuana-Licenses-and-Permits-290584431.html), and it will be some time before dispensary doors open. No exact date is in sight, only hopefully “by the end of the year.”
And Illinois isn’t alone: earlier this month Rolling Stone profiled seven states (in addition to New York) where medical cannabis is technically legal, but far from a reality. (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/7-states-where-medical-marijuana-is-legal-but-barely-accessible-20150609)
So, this 4th of July, we’d like to urge the California medical cannabis community to reach out to the politicians of other states and show our support of our fellow ailing Americans, sharing some of our personal and state-wide success stories with cannabis treatment. The tide is already changing, and every little bit of support can help make that process faster and smoother.
If personal writing isn’t your cup of tea, The Marijuana Policy project has a good form letter, available here: https://secure2.convio.net/mpp/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=415
And of course, a list of our state senators, all of whom have a quick and easily accessible electronic contact: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
While we celebrate our independence, let’s also take a moment to express our solidarity. As medical cannabis patients, as Americans, and as human beings.