Life was much simpler back in the early ’70s, when I was a student at Troy High School. Back then if you wanted some marijuana you’d call Doug or Jeff and they’d deliver a nickel bag. Customers would fork over the cash, try to make sure no one caught them with it, and life went on. Simple.
Marijuana is a lot more complicated today.
Medicinal marijuana is now legal in Ohio as it is in many other states. Recreational marijuana is legal in some states, including Colorado, a state I often visit to see my daughter and her family. That sounds pretty straightforward, but it’s not.
First of all, medicinal marijuana is kind of legal and kind of not. The federal government lists marijuana as a controlled substance so technically it’s legal in Ohio because Ohio says it is but then again it’s not because the feds say it isn’t.
To add to the complication, many Ohio communities, including Troy, have passed bans on the production or sale of medical marijuana. That means medical marijuana can be produced or sold in Ohio, it just can’t happen in Troy. You’re going to have to go somewhere else to fill your prescription.
To the south of us, Huber Heights has managed to make things even more complicated. The city initially didn’t pass a moratorium while it considered what to do about medical marijuana. It finally did pass a ban, but in the meantime a local man had been awarded a license by the state to open a marijuana production facility at an address in Huber Heights. So the state says yes, the city says no and the owner of the license is trying to work out a deal to move his facility to another building outside the city limits — which doesn’t sound too difficult except the license is tied to the address in Huber Heights, so he has to start there. The issue has sparked months of debate in Huber Heights and it appears to be far from over. It could very well end up in court.
Over the years as I’ve visited Denver, I’ve seen numerous marijuana storefronts open. When medicinal marijuana was approved, these little places popped up like — well, like a bunch of marijuana plants in an out-of-the-way field. Then the state approved recreational marijuana. You can get cookies, brownies, hot chocolate, even gummy bears!
There are laws that limit where you can smoke — you’re not supposed to walk down the street with a doobie or hang out at the playground and share that last toke with your pals. But it’s not uncommon to catch a whiff of that distinctive smell at a city park or see someone multi-tasking while sitting in their pickup truck.
Ohio’s law is much more stringent. The marijuana is going to be sold in pill form — you won’t be able to go down the drugstore and get a carton of Acapulco Gold (at least, not yet). No free samples, either!
Which brings up another problem — once the store owner makes a sale, what does he or she do with the money?
Bankers are very nervous about handling money from the sale of marijuana, since the feds can confiscate funds from the sale of illegal drugs and prosecute those who handle the cash for money laundering. So most banks won’t take deposits from marijuana businesses. Entrepreneurs in Colorado and other places are running around with giant bags of money trying to figure out how to process their profits. Kind of like my friends from high school, only on a much bigger scale.
That’s assuming you can become a marijuana patient. Federal law prevents doctors from prescribing marijuana, so you won’t be able to go to your local doc and talk him into writing you a script. You’ll have to find a doctor who has a special state certificate. Your normal doctor apparently is OK for heavy duty opioids but not for marijuana pills.
Talk about reefer madness! You couldn’t think up a system so bizarre even if you were high for a week straight.
Let’s say marijuana has medicinal value. Not everyone agrees on this, but humor me for a minute. Wouldn’t it make a million times more sense to have it regulated like other drugs and sold at pharmacies? Of course, the fact that the federal government doesn’t recognize it as medically acceptable makes that impossible.
Besides, now that I think about it, I guess we haven’t done so well with that program when it comes to things like opioids.
I don’t have any interest in marijuana myself and I think medicinal marijuana could be a big mistake. But would I think differently if I suffered from a debilitating disease? I don’t know what to tell you. It seems to me the simplest thing to do would be to look Jeff up and give him a call.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.