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Friday, September 21, 2007

Morley Safer Reports On Proposition 215

Morley Safer Reports On Proposition 215

Posted by CN Staff on September 20, 2007 at 13:54:14 PT

Produced By David Browning

Source: CBS News

(CBS) -- The idea was a noble one: pass a law to make marijuana
legal for cancer and AIDS sufferers whose pain and nausea the drug is
known to relieve. But the law the Rev. Scott Imler thought would one
day put the drug in pharmacies has instead created "pot dealers in
storefronts" who sell to anyone with doctors' notes that are fairly
easy to obtain.

60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer speaks to Imler and others for a
report on medical marijuana, this Sunday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Imler admits the noble idea turned out to be a pipe dream. "I think
there's a lot of [people just buying the drug to get high]," he tells
Safer. "A lot of what we have now is basically pot dealers in

Imler lives in California, one of 12 states to pass a medical marijuana
bill. To pass California's Proposition 215, Imler says many more types
of patients besides cancer and AIDS sufferers had to be included. "They
all have their lobbies. The kidney patient and the heart patient," says
Imler. That led to a blanket law covering anyone with pain, setting the
stage for the easy-to-get doctor's notes and hundreds of storefront
marijuana "clubs." "It's just ridiculous the amount of money going
through these cannabis clubs," Imler tells Safer.

Don Duncan, an owner of three medical marijuana clubs in California,
says abuse is to be expected as it occurs with prescription drugs as

"There's bound to be abuse in the system," says Duncan. "What we
really need right now are regulations that address those issues."

The "clubs" are supposed to be comprised of patients who grow marijuana
for the sole reason of distributing it to fellow members, but Imler
says, "Most of these cannabis centers are buying their marijuana off
the black market. They're dumping millions of dollars into the criminal
black market."

This has not escaped the notice of federal officials, for whom the drug
is still illegal under federal law. One of Duncan's clubs was raided by
the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Shutting down the clubs solves one
problem, but could affect the quality of life for people like William
Leahy, who suffers from vascular degeneration. "I have a deformity
here," he says, pointing to his hip, "and a great deal of pain and

[The clubs] help me with that," says Leahy.

Imler says it's time for the federal government to step up for people
like Leahy. "We only saw the local cannabis programs as a stopgap
measure on the way to the federal government rescheduling it and making
[marijuana] available in the pharmacy like regular medicines are.

Until that happens, we're going to have what we have now, which is chaos."

Complete Title: The Debate On California's Pot Shops: Morley Safer Reports On Proposition 215

Source: CBS News (US Web)
Published: September 20, 2007
Copyright: 2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

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