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California Proposition 215: Legalizing Medical Marijuana Essay examples

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Also known as California Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 made headlines around the country as the first law ever to change the legality of medical marijuana for public consumption statewide. Originating in San Francisco, it was passed by 55.6% of California voters on November 5, 1996 (Human Rights and the Drug War). The ideology behind passing Prop. 215 is that marijuana contains a number of legitimate medical uses and should be made available to those who would benefit from it. The text of the proposed law states that “seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate” (NORML, 2009). All patients possessing a reasonable amount of marijuana are protected and may use it at any time as long as it is done privately. However, before patients can begin using marijuana they must seek approval from a physician who are also protected under the law and cannot be persecuted for issuing a recommendation. The authors also realized there would need to be a safe and reliable source to obtain marijuana and intended Prop. 215 to encourage both “the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana” (NORML). In addition to purchasing it, Prop. 215 also allows patients to cultivate their own plants but strictly for personal use only. Any evidence of distributing marijuana or growing more plants than needed for personal use carries a high risk of prosecution.
A Historical Perspective
Since marijuana has been illegal for many decades but only recently became legal for medical use, it begs the question why it took so long to make it accessible in the first place. Especially consid...


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...roduced. Allowances on how much marijuana can be possessed could be based on the condition the patient was diagnosed with, not just a universal amount granted to everyone.
Growing your own plants should become a privilege, granted only to patients who are deemed to have the greatest need for marijuana. To prevent abuse, distributions of the drug could be rationed in a way similar to modern prescription drugs. A predetermined amount would be given to each patient in a timely basis. Once established, the State governments could then vote on their own laws to fine tune the existing medical marijuana policy much in the way alcohol is regulated differently by each state. By implementing these new measures, many of the fears associated with medical marijuana would be eliminated and perhaps more people would realize marijuana has considerable potential worth exploring.



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