In 2009, the American College Health Association reported that 40.6 percent of USC students have tried marijuana.
Medicinal marijuana has been legal in California since 1996.
In theory, medical marijuana laws only allow the people who need the drug to use it. Instead, this law has generated a complex web of problems. The medicinal marijuana industry, however, is surrounded by confusion and disorganization.
Marijuana has varied levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol — the psychoactive ingredient in the plant — pesticides, mold and bacteria. This range causes the distribution of medicinal marijuana to become a blind process. Possessing marijuana for testing is illegal; thus, there is no real system for quality control.
This approach makes no sense: Marijuana is a California government-approved medicine, but it is illegal to take any measures toward safeguarding patients who use it.
To make up for this conundrum, thousands of private entrepreneurs have sprouted up, offering to test marijuana for THC levels. The vast majority of these entrepreneurs have little scientific background. But the legitimate scientists among them are risking their reputations and careers to provide a safe system of testing to those who need it.
Three major labs — one located in Los Angeles — have grown in prominence and created the Association of California Cannabis Laboratories in an attempt to make the process more credible. But the labs need to be run in secret, lest the DEA shuts them down.
Legislators need to understand that they are endorsing marijuana as a viable medical product while crippling its use with their restrictive measures.
Legalization will allow well-run labs to stay running and prevent less-than-legitimate testers from running amok.
Whether or not you support the use of medicinal marijuana, it’s painfuly obvious that this law is illogical. Legislators are the only ones who can fix it.
Daniel Grzywacz is a sophomore majoring in neuroscience and anthropology. His column “72 Degrees and Shaking” runs Wednesdays.