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article imageMedical marijuana distributors are in crossfire of war on drugs Special

By Carol Forsloff     Aug 6, 2013 in Crime
Portland - Medical marijuana is supposed to be legal and available to patients, according to laws of 20 states, however distributors are caught in the conflict between the Federal regulations and state laws in the war on drugs.
Donald Morse, manager, and Sarah Bennett, the founder of Human Collective, have both been charged with distributing illegal drugs, a crime under Federal regulations. Yet the State of Oregon allows distributors to provide medicine for patients who hold a legal card issued by the state, entitling them to use medical marijuana. But the federal government does not recognize state law when it comes to distributing the drug.
Human Collective II is an offshoot of the original Human Collective I which was shut down following a raid on the organization more than a year ago. It was founded by Sarah Bennett who said she had wanted to produce "a transparent way of distributing the medication and specifically distinguish it as medical as opposed to recreational use." Bennett also believes the terms of who qualifies as a patient should be broadened because some conditions, like a headache, may not qualify as a disabling condition under the law, but can be debilitating and reduce function. Furthermore, technically a patient with cancer in remission may no longer be eligible for medical marijuana but still have disabling symptoms. Those conditions, she maintains, might be addressed as medical marijuana uses become more stabilized.
But right now Morse and Bennett faces serious consequences if found guilty of violating Federal law, in spite of Oregon's law that allows the distribution and use of medical marijuana.
Morse began his association with the Collective about six months after it began. His wife needs marijuana for the pain of fibromyalgia. He was concerned that even though Oregon's law allowing medical marijuana was passed in 1998 there was no source to fill that need of distribution specifically for medical uses. He worked with Bennett to help organize and manage the Human Collective since 2010.
Research, Morse found at the time, was sparse because of federal laws that discouraged the use of marijuana. Most of the studies he found were from Canada, Amsterdam and Israel. But what he did find was evidence that many medical conditions could be helped with medical marijuana. Both Morse and Bennett have tried to stay abreast of the legislation as well as best practices in order to maintain a business well within reasonable practices for their patients.
What Bennett and Morse both found when they examined marijuana distribution outlets were places that had the stereotypical look and feel associated with being "stoned," when that was not the orientation of their interest. Both wanted to create a facility that was scrupulous in its accounting, distribution, and patient involvement. The facility became known as a model for others distributing medical marijuana. Medical marijuana users then, and still now, virtually hid in plain sight, many not admitting they were using the drug at all for fear of social reprisal.
Human Collective was shut down in 2012 and reopened in another location, where it is today, as Morse and Bennett face trials beginning the end of this year.
Marijuana distributors and patients worry about the conflicts that exist in a State like Oregon where medical marijuana is legal. Distributors in Oregon and California are caught in the crossfires of the drug war, a war that continues to have no clear-cut winners and mostly patients who ultimately may be the losers if the issues are not resolved.
More about Medical Marijuana, legal marijuana, states where medical marijuana legal, War on drugs, Nancy reagan
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