Pseudo Legalization

Matt Labash takes aim at the medical marijuana industry in Michigan. Will over at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen shrugs:

[I]t’s worth remembering that the best way to end the charade of over-prescribing medicinal pot is to legalize marijuana. Labash seems to think that his subjects’ tenuous connection to the health care industry is some sort of blanket indictment of marijuana use, but fake prescriptions and opportunistic bouts of carpal tunnel syndrome are actually symptomatic of a ridiculous legal system that outlaws marijuana use at the federal level while state and local legislators – who, incidentally, are best positioned to judge the costs and benefits of decriminalization – attempt to look the other way. The irony is that many of the individuals Labash lampoons actually sound like reasonably productive, responsible citizens – the best jokes the author lands come at the expense of silly nicknames designed to escape legal scrutiny and the lengths these businesses go to navigate our Byzantine drug laws.

Jacob Sullum also pushes back:

[I]t's certainly true that the most common use for marijuana is not medical, and demand for the drug would not be much affected even if a cheap, equally effective pharmaceutical alternative were readily available to patients. So it is hardly surprising that a medical marijuana regime like Michigan's or California's would invite a lot of pretending. But the root of this dishonesty is the continued federal and state prohibition of marijuana, which exposes even bona fide medical dispensaries to the risk of raids, forfeiture, arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment. (Michigan, like California, does not explicitly allow over-the-counter sales of medical marijuana.) Everyone associated with contraband is a little shady by definition. Labash would have had a grand time documenting drinking-related fakery during alcohol prohibition (which included religious as well as medical excuses), but such an account would not have been seen as evidence in favor of prohibition.