It's been nearly 14 years since California legalized medical marijuana, and the industry is still an uncoordinated mess.
Medical marijuana still violates federal law. California has no statewide oversight, and cities are still struggling to determine how to oversee medical cannabis. It creates confusion for everyone -- the growers, the dispensers, the users and the regulators.
But have you heard the one about the New Jersey governor who proposed an interesting idea that opens up a whole new debate? He suggests turning the cultivation over to a prestigious research university.
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Governor Chris Christie proposed having one of the country's oldest and most prestigious universities be the sole grower of that state's medical marijuana crop. The university is Rutgers. Christie went a step further and suggested state-approved hospitals would become the sole suppliers of the medicine.
"I think that the responsible thing to do-if the voters and legislators decide medical marijuana should be legalized-is to use a portion of the tax on medical cannabis to conduct further research on quality of the product, optimal dosing and method of administration, monitoring of beneficial and adverse effects, for example. What would be needed is for a very responsible, thoughtful entity - and UC might be an example - to be involved in developing standards for the cannabis itself, and how and went it is administered, and assuring that whatever it is people are prescribed is as safe and pure as we would expect for other medicines. So, eventually, yes - I could see a possible role for UC Scientist," says Igor Grant, M.D., UCSD Department of Psychiatry.