Marijuana is available as a medical treatment in California to almost anyone who tells a willing physician he would feel better if he smoked, reports the Washington Post. Pot is retailed over the counter in hundreds of storefronts in Los Angeles and is credited with reviving part of downtown Oakland. The LA Journal of Education for Medical Marijuana is fat with ads for offerings in more than 400 “dispensaries” in the city. Applications for retail outlets surged after Feb. 26, when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Drug Enforcement Administration will no longer raid such stores.
Some 13 states have legalized medical marijuana. As a “Schedule 1” drug under the 1970 federal narcotics act, marijuana has “no currently accepted medical use.” Some doctors have found it effective in reducing nausea, easing glaucoma, and improving appetite and sleep in AIDS patients. Marijuana use is widespread — government surveys show that 100 million Americans have smoked pot or its resin, hashish, in their lifetimes, and 25 million have done so in the past year. Yet polls show that the public is still wary of legalization. President Obama said when asked about legalizing marijuana, “I don’t think that’s a good strategy to grow our economy.”