Medical marijuana 2.0

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  January 11, 2012

Some worried that dispensaries would mean the end of that culture, the corporatization of the movement, and prohibitive prices for weed — even with a sliding scale in place for the poorest of patients.

So there is a silver lining, perhaps, in the advent of a smaller-scale compassion center program: with less marijuana available at the dispensaries, elements of the mom-and-pop system — for good and for ill — seem likely to survive.

There is evidence, moreover, that a mix of these two approaches can work.

In New Mexico, the state allows patients to grow on their own. But it also licenses 23 small, non-profit producers to grow for patients. State government officials and advocates alike say the system, in the aggregate, produces enough marijuana to meet patient demand.

That was not always the case. Before a series of policy changes December 2010 — increasing the number of licensed producers and upping the limit on plants each can grow from 95 to 150 — there were significant supply problems. Patients would routinely buy up all the available marijuana within 24 hours of it hitting the market.

The program's relative stability up until that point, and its minimal problems with federal law enforcement, helped clear the way for a small, but significant expansion. Rhode Island advocates, looking forward, can only hope for something similar: a new, smaller system, that will lay the groundwork for something more.

David Scharfenberg can be reached at

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  | 
Related: Photos: MassCann's 2010 Freedom Rally, Reefer medness, GOP lawmakers want to do DeCoster 'a favor', More more >
  Topics: News Features , Politics, Law, Marijuana,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIBERAL WARRIOR  |  April 10, 2013
    When it comes to his signature issues — climate change, campaign finance reform, tax fairness — Whitehouse makes little secret of his approach: marshal the facts, hammer the Republicans, and embarrass them into action.
    A key Brown University oversight committee has voted to recommend the school divest from coal, delivering a significant victory to student climate change activists.
  •   HACKING POLITICS: A GUIDE  |  April 03, 2013
    Last year, the Internet briefly upended everything we know about American politics.
  •   BREAK ON THROUGH  |  March 28, 2013
    When I spoke with Treasurer Gina Raimondo this week, I opened with the obligatory question about whether she'll run for governor. "I'm seriously considering it," she said. "But I think as you know — we've talked about it before — I have little kids: a six-year-old, an eight-year-old. I'm a mother. It's a big deal."
  •   THE LIBERAL CASE FOR GUNS  |  March 27, 2013
    The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut spurred hope not just for sensible gun regulation, but for a more nuanced discussion of America's gun culture. Neither wish has been realized.

 See all articles by: DAVID SCHARFENBERG