(KOZE 950AM) Washington officials are poised to decide whether patients with depression or certain anxiety disorders should be allowed to use medical marijuana as part of their treatment.
State law limits the legal use of medical pot to patients who have been diagnosed with a “terminal or debilitating medical condition.” That includes people with cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis and several other diseases that cause pain or nausea which is “unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications.”
But in July, a petition was submitted to the Medical Quality Assurance Commission, which is responsible for determining which conditions are approved for medical-marijuana use, asking that they add bipolar disorder, severe depression and anxiety-related disorders to that list.
It is a very tough sell to legislators to get them to add mental health conditions to list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. For one, there just isn’t a lot of research to point to on cannabis’ efficacy for such conditions, though the anecdotal evidence is very broad and convincing. Two, the reefer madness scares about pot and psychoses and pot and schizophrenia confuse legislators about using cannabis for mental health treatment. And three, many legislators already believe people are faking chronic pain in order to get a card, they are even more likely to believe people will fake depression or anxiety to get a card.
So once again, we see how the interim measure of legalization for only the most sick and disabled fails to provide the true measure of relief for the most people. When 95% of the marijuana market is illegitimate, there will always be the concern about people faking their way into the legitimate 5%. Creating safeguards on the 5%’s legitimacy will always unfairly burden some who deserve medical marijuana to keep out those who don’t.
The only solution that guarantees everyone with medical need gets to use cannabis (and gets to acquire it at reasonable cost) is legalization of marijuana for all adults.