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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Legalization Measure 'Bad for Patients,' S.F. Cannabis Dealer Says

Posted By on Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 5:35 PM

  • Cookie, NOOOOOOOOO!
Legalization threat "putting us in the shadows ... making us dirty again," says head of Green Cross Cannabis Delivery

A couple of years ago Kevin Reed, 36, president of Bay Area Green Cross medical Marijuana delivery service, had his mother over. She tried a cookie. This was no ordinary cookie.

"There are side effects," Reed recalled. "One is increased blood flow. My mom got scared. It made her feel like she was having heart problems."

She begged Reed to take her to a hospital emergency room. Reed refused, reasoning he might get in trouble.

"I told her she shouldn't have eaten the cookie to begin with. It was illegal to do that, for me to let her her have the cookie. It was too much of a risk for everybody," said Reed. "She was saying, 'If I die, you just want my insurance money,' and all these crazy things. I was accused of being a really bad boy. But she was fine in about two hours."

Of the many lessons that might be drawn from such a scene, Reed became convinced it's inappropriate to ingest Marijuana without a doctor's say-so. This conviction is behind his campaign to oppose a pot-legalization measure scheduled for this fall's ballot.

"Higher taxes will hurt patients. A glut of sub-quality medicine with hurt patients," wrote Reed, in an April 11 letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. "This ballot measure, which likens cannabis to alcohol or tobacco, instead of ibuprofen or aspirin, hurts patients."

Reed's sentiments might seem heretical, given the widespread belief that promoting pot as "medicine" has been a mere way station en route to full legalization for recreational use.

But the legalization movement's "compassionate-community" strategy has put in place a mom-n-pop industry that might be wiped out if the medical Marijuana loophole was replaced by full legalization. Reed, for one, delivers pot out of his apartment. Typical Marijuana suppliers quietly grow pot in basements or on federal land.  If legalization advocates achieve the ultimate goal of full commercial legitimacy for the pot business, it's possible these sorts of operators might be priced and regulated out of business. Many in the traditional pot world are said to be quietly chagrined at Richard Lee, the Oaksterdam University impresario behind the Tax Cannabis ballot initiative. Dennis Peron, for one, has published a critique of the measure on YouTube.

But the mainstream movement view has been restrained endorsement of the measure.

"I understand that groundbreaking legislation is not always going to be perfect," said David Goldman, president of the local chapter of Americans for Safe Access, who explained he was speaking for himself, rather than the organization. "This legislation isn't 100-percent perfect. Social Security wasn't perfect. MediCare wasn't perfect. They always have flaws, foreseen and unforeseen."

Reed, however, has taken a bolder, if isolated stand. In addition to sending a letter to the supes, he's fired off missives to his patients outlining objections to the legalization measure, and has expounded on the issue during periodic meetings with patients over pizza.

"With a measure being put on the ballot, people have kind of taken cannabis and gone Wild West on it. Industry has jumped in; they want to take it corporate, and make it really big," Reed said in an interview. "To me, it's been about the patients, the little guys, the people at home growing Marijuana to stay out of the system. I see all those little patients struggling to exist anymore. They're being pushed out by big enormous growers. I see for a fact those patients are going to be priced out of the market the minute you have corporations growing warehouse style."

A better ballot measure would take the "medical" designation and run further down the field.

"I think we should be pushing the government toward re-classifying

cannabis, so doctors can write a prescription, and cops recognize it's

a prescription,"  Reed said.

And if one's mom happens to somehow get the wrong prescription, it might be possible to take her to the hospital without fearing jail time.

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Matt Smith


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