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October 28, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, October 28, 2005

Our county's patients deserve medicinal pot Our county's patients deserve medicinal pot (October 28, 2005)

By Jonathan Lustig

Someday, the past 70 years of cannabis prohibition will be considered one of the largest big-business-motivated medical blunders in history.

Mountain View must join the statewide movement to leave behind this archaic prohibition which shamefully neglects the pain and suffering of our fellow citizens.

Cannabis provides substantial relief for a wide array of ailments. Patients with cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, depression, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, epilepsy, chronic pain, arthritis, neuromuscular spasms, migraines and many other conditions, disorders and diseases alleviate their often painful symptoms through the medicinal qualities of cannabis.

While patients using alternatives to cannabis suffer from side effects such as nausea, incapacitation, fatigue, intestinal complications, coma and death, patients report zero ill side effects from cannabis use.

It was these properties of medicinal cannabis that convinced majorities of voters in California (56 percent) and Santa Clara County (64 percent) to support Senate Bill 420 and Proposition 215. Under the protection of these measures, California residents are now able to legally obtain and use medicinal cannabis.

However, inadequate implementation of SB 420 has now led us to the edge of a crisis. According to SB 420, caregivers may only dispense cannabis to patients who reside within their county. For the past decade, dispensaries in other counties have showed compassion and leniency towards Santa Clara County's patients by allowing them access. Compelled by state law, these dispensaries are now beginning to prohibit our ill residents from entering their facilities.

Currently there are no resources for patients in Santa Clara County. Out of the 1.7 million people that live here, estimates reach upwards of 100,000 patients who benefit from cannabis. With no alternative, tens of thousands of patients will be forced to turn to local drug dealers, thereby increasing crime and putting the patients and our communities at risk.

Such an outcome would be unethical and irresponsible in light of the possibilities open to us to help those who suffer.

Throughout the state, safeguards and security measures regulating dispensaries have been implemented that have ensured the safety and security of our children and our community while providing patients with their much-needed medicine. Such a dispensary should be opened in Mountain View.

Currently, there are more than 100 well-run, safe dispensaries in California. These nonprofit cannabis providers have become positive forces within their communities by sponsoring events, activities and services. Plaques and letters of deep gratitude and thanks cover the walls of these dispensaries.

A movement has begun to end a shameful history of neglect. Mountain View should be part of this movement.
Jonathan Lustig, a Mountain View resident, is lobbying city council members to let him establish a medical pot club in the city. The council is expected to revisit the issue in a study session no sooner than December.

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