The Business and Ethics of Medicinal Marijuana
We live in a very versatile world, each coin has two sides, and there are a lot of topics to argue. Business and ethics of marijuana is one of them. Nowadays this type of plants is illegal everywhere in the United States except for 18 states. However, it is medically proved that marijuana positively influences the human’s health. However, one may wonder whether it is really possible for people to cure themselves with the help of marijuana and if it is a really trustworthy type of healing.
Recently marijuana became a popular paregoric, especially in case of having chronic pain in the spinal cord. Therefore, it goes without saying that a great number of people with such health problems got interested in gaining the right to obtain marijuana legally.
People can get a Medicinal Marijuana Identification card (MMIC) in special dispensaries only if they have a resolution from the physician. In California Department of Public Health, a special program is provided to give Medicinal Marijuana Identification cards to register people and allow them to legally grow, use, transport marijuana in limited amounts. This type of card can be obtained only by qualified patients and people who take care about them. To become a qualified patient, firstly, one needs a recommendation from the doctor and, secondly, this person needs to come into one of the memberships, which give an opportunity to confirm the right for a legal marijuana usage. One will be able to get his qualified patient photo ID card there. Then, people have to apply for a MMIC and fill in the Application Form making available some documentation including: the copy of doctor’s solution, any proof of identity, confirmation of location. One should not forget to provide photos, pay some fees and apply only to the program of their district.
From the first sight it seems quite easy, nevertheless it is not. If the headaches are slight or anxiety is not a regular occurrence, it will be problematic to gain the MMIC. The reasons of providing a card to an individual are very serious. They must be pointed out in medical records and determined by SB 420. According to the bill SB 420, they are acquired in cases of immune deficiency syndrome, abepithymia, inflammatory arthropathia, caches, oncological diseases, constant pain, green cataract, hemicranias, entasia, multiocular sclerosis, cerebral seizure, sicchasia, and other medical disorders, which restrict humans’ full ability to live and exist (California Senate Bill 420 (HS 11362.7) Medical Marijuana Implementation; Article 2.5. Medical Marijuana Program). Therefore, the recordings of the physician in one’s medical documents are especially significant. In case the reasons to obtain the MMIC are not important enough, such requests will be denied.
Usually a doctor chooses the way of testing according to the patient’s chart: a blood draw or medical testing. The physician will be responsible for the given solution during one year, as the card and doctor’s approval are available for such period.
It is very indispensable for the patient to take his medicine in time because it is the well-known fact that the pain for human’s organism is dangerous. The nature of pain is an inflammatory process that leads to the common stress and troublesome aftereffects. So, after applying for the MMIC, it is necessary to wait for thirty five days (if required documents are provided and correspond to all terms). The rules require thirty days for the county’s program to check the application and to contact the patient. County program has five days to make the identification card available for the person to take. One may feel free to contact the administration if they didn’t grant it for thirty five days. MMIC includes the card, photo on it, unique ID number, date of expiration, and the name of a district.
One should also keep in mind that MMIC is active for only 365 days. The qualified patient and caregiver have the same expiration date of card. The cost of the identification card varies at each region, it should be paid a special fee for application, and the price can be found by telephone.
In case of loss of the ID card or becoming a victim of a thief, one can contact the county program and apply for a loss within 24 hours after the MMIC’s disappearing. It also costs a certain amount of money, the details about the fee can be found in the state’s department.
It is clear that with the increasing popularity of MMIC an interest grows in marijuana as in a commercial good. Such places as California, New Jersey, San Diego, and West Hollywood concentrate a big amount of marijuana shops and dispensaries. There are more than one thousand dispensaries situated in the whole area of California. They provide a permitted by law amount of plant to each qualified patient, one can gain no more than 8 oz. of dried plant in ownership. Speaking about seeds one qualified patient can get 12 immature and 6 mature seeds.
As every business structure medical marijuana dispensaries take care about their business and want it to “live long and prosper”. Nowadays, this aim is easy to become real with the tools of advertising, total popularity of such cure, and legalizing process. If dispensary is able to concur on the market, the average quantity of clients a day reaches 250-300 people, and allowed price for a fixed amount of medicinal marijuana is approximately 55 dollars. It can be logically concluded, that such business brings profit to its owner, even taking in account all the taxes. Speaking about the taxes taking from dispensaries they reach 25% from general income, such sum of money goes to the state’s budget. As it is a medical business, the owners are responsible for the quality of their goods; they should provide insurance and all the documents, proving the legal trade. In the United States, illegal or non-medicinal selling of cannabis is restricted by law and is punished by the federal police. All licenses and quality proving certifications cost some money; precise price depends on the location. One can contact the administrator and learn all the financial details .In California to obtain a license, an individual needs to document a license for medical purposes, and pay taxes to federal government and to state. Experienced businessmen suggest in some cases to contract the state and to conclude a business type of license. To open his own dispensary, a person should have the required list of documents: a medical marijuana business license, a seller’s permit, federal tax ID, state employer ID number, form of limited liability company (LLC) or defense base act (DBA) form. The period of license action is the same as MMIC only one year and person should file the license application again until 45 days before the expiration date.
Providing a legal business implies a regulated system of taxing. Medicinal marijuana is not an exception. After cancelling the marijuana prohibition, the Government receives more than 15 billion dollars annually. Government saved almost 8 billion dollars with the adaptation of taxing system.
Not only ordinary business-owners, but also governmental farms grow medicinal marijuana for national uses, the only legal marijuana field is in Mississippi. They produce 400 kilograms of dried marijuana per year, and transport it to dispensaries into the states, where restrictions are cancelled. The transportation of medical cannabis is provided with the help of MMD Insurance project with autos specially equipped for this business. The delivery of cannabis can become dangerous for private businessmen because marijuana is still illegal in most states, and the lack of necessary transportation documents (different authorization or verification forms, list of driver’s papers and licenses, technical well-being of auto, ordinances from local authorities etc.) might cause great trouble. Federal law provides a great number of restrictions so it is better to do things unconcealed. As California is a large center of medicinal marijuana so the system of delivery is also developed enough. It is a part of cannabis business and delivery organizations are able to propose their services to consumers. The cost of shipping varies from the parts of U.S, but the average price for delivery is 20 dollars, some organizations make sales for wholesale goods.
The interest fact to know is that all dispensaries and their owners pay great attention to the registration of qualified patients or their caregivers to avoid falsification and breaking the law. They control the verification of MMIC, counterfeit patients and caregivers with their orders to be checked by federal police and to be accused in violation of the law. The federal police regularly raid the dispensaries of medicinal marijuana explaining it by different reasons. Some of the dispensaries in California are located near the educational establishments and the state controls the legality of business operations and often closes such enterprises. Almost every week the federals lawsuit or raid different dispensaries all over the California, sometimes they confiscate the money and surplus of illegal marijuana. Business owners are forced to feel like at gunpoint. Even if an enterprise is legal it is not protected from the federal raid because marijuana is still widely illegal. If one decided to give up the medicinal marijuana business, he would sell it according to the license type (medical business license), but the next owner would have to renew the license and register as an owner. This business is hard to cope with because of its legalization, but medicinal marijuana is still one of the best analgesic means without side-effects (in limited amounts).
Medicinal Marijuana in California is one of the most arguing topics. People are divided into two groups, who are “for” and “against” its legalization. The stereotype that marijuana can only be an addictive drug, put roots are down in the society and it is still problematic for people to agree with another possible opinions.
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It goes without saying that our world is not perfect, and there are a lot of individuals, who want to earn some money on people’s problems. Medicinal marijuana is primarily provided as a medicine, and authorities made this decision to brighten the health situation in the state. The positive feature about this fact is that people with chronic pain in different parts of the body now are able to obtain the legal cure to save them from their diseases without spending huge sums of money on expensive analgesics. Nowadays there is no need to buy marijuana on the streets in California, where it is dangerous and illegal just to get rid of persistent aches; all that is needed is to take resolution from the physician, register as a qualified patient and get the MMIC. Government secures the rights of qualified patients and their caregivers. What is more, another virtue of medicinal prohibition is gaining 46 billion dollars on taxes from the industry.
However, some people believe that despite all the healing characteristics it is still a hard drug and its consumption is addictive and dangerous for human’s health in any measures. People against the medicinal marijuana usage debate that there are another kinds of medicine able to relieve the pain and they are less dangerous. Marijuana is suitable to cure glaucoma, but the National Eye Institute proves that it can lower the intraocular pressure as well as other pharmacological products, so there is no need in passing a complicated procedure of getting an MMIC. That is not the end with legalization of marijuana. The rates of drug-smuggling industry are only increasing. Lawbreakers create fake MMIC and try to transport drugs in the states and over the sea; unimaginable sums of money flow into the hands of organized crime.
Analyzing this research it can be concluded that medicinal marijuana is legal in some states including California, and everything depends on people’s moral values, human decency and respecting the laws of the state they live in. If one has a right to buy medicine legally, it is clear one would not search for criminal ways to buy it somewhere else. Forbidden fruit is the sweetest and restrictions will only encourage an aggression towards the government. People, who use medicinal marijuana, do it consciously for their health improvement. Everybody has a right to choose their way, so the society should be tolerant to people’s choices. No one denies the negative influence of marijuana and it is illegal, addictive in regular use in large amounts. Cannabis has been taken for more than 40 years, with no complaints about diseases in comparison with the death rate of tobacco which causes lung-cancer. Actually in comparison with tobacco, alcohol and psychotropic substances, marijuana has more healing features. Alcohol causes liver diseases and degradation of mental activity, tobacco makes harm to the respiratory system. Prozac is toxic. Therefore, from such point of view, medicinal marijuana seems to be lesser of all devils, but it can be useful only in limited amounts.
Lastly, G. K. Chesterton said: “The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do, without destroying the health of the mind.” People should care not only about their physical health, but also cultivate their morality. Such way might produce loyal and honest society.