Policies regarding marijuana differ in several degrees from state to state and thus public or government human service agencies have to act within the regulations that envelop them. This in turn brings us to the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act.
To better understand the issue, the legal quarrel over marijuana must be discussed.
Currently 18 states allow for the use of medical marijuana and 2 states have fully legalized use of the recreational drug. According to Caulkin and co. marijuana is the most popular and most in use illegal substance around the world. This is referred to the use of the leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant, which are dried and then put to a multitude of uses. There are several strains of the plant that produce varying effects all falling under the umbrella of getting high. (Caulkins ,
Hawken, Kilmer & Kleiman, 2012) Currently data has shown that some portion of the cannabis sativa actually has true medicinal values. Even our Governor Andrew Cuomo has seen the truth behind these facts as shown in a CNN article “Research suggests that medical marijuana can help manage pain and treatment of cancer and other serious illnesses”. (Botelho & Sgueglia, 2014)
Now the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act legislation itself deals with protecting the user and suppliers of medical marijuana, in states where it is allowed, from federal reprisal or incrimination. As it stands there are many medical marijuana users across the United States and now recreational user in two states. Thus any state agency residing in a state where it is lawful for patients access to medical marijuana would seem to have no discrepancy. Ironically, marijuana is still illegal federally so even though a patient is allowed to use it federal aid cannot
provide for it. This leaves things like medicaid caught in the very middle of the battle. As of yet, Medicaid will not cover the expense for medical marijuana and treats it like many other treatment options that are not totally given a green light. Meanwhile, individual and private agencies can freely give any help deemed necessary. Once the state in question has access to medical marijuana aid can be given. Many cancer facilities often recommend the use of marijuana as a means of pain mediation. Programs like the
outhwest Arizona Patient Alliance
(SWAPA) which “is a grass roots organization. Our goal is to educate, advocate, and promote activism for medical cannabis patients.” (swapa.com)
Were I put in a situation where i had to deal with a sick patient reaching out for care, I’d find myself at odds. In working for a government supervised human service agency, my job requires that i do my best to help those that need care. However, in working for the government,
I am a civil servant and therefore held to the responsibilities of obeying the law. This sentiment is restated by Tom Lutzenberger an author at yahoo “Every government employee is expected to maintain the honesty, integrity and impartiality of