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Monday, November 23, 2009

The First Marijuana Coffee Shop Opens In America

The first marijuana coffee shop opens in America which will inevitably be one of the first tests Obama faces after announcing a relaxed approach against marijuana. Marijuana cafes have been operated in Europe for many years rather successfully; it will be interesting to see how this new cafe will be received by the public. The Cannabis Cafe in Portland, Oregon is the first place medical marijuana patients in Oregon can get their marijuana and smoke it as long as it is out of public view. Unlike California, there are no medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon where patients can get their medicine, forcing them to grow it themselves or know someone who is growing it. The new cafe in Portland is a big move in America, what happens in Oregon could trickle down and affect other states; neighboring states will probably be setting up cafes in the near future if Oregon's attempt at it is a success.

According to the Telegraph(UK): "Madeline Martinez, who runs NORML, a group seeking legalisation of the drug, said: "This club represents personal freedom, finally. 'We hope to have classes, seminars, even a cannabis community college, based here to help people learn about growing and other uses for cannabis'". A month ago the Obama administration told federal lawyers, with regard to medical marijuana patients and dispensaries, not to prosecute in those states which have permitted medical use. In the state of Oregon there are 21,000 medical marijuana patients compared to the staggering 150,000 in California. California, legalized medical marijuana in 1996, since then, another 12 states including Oregon followed suit.

With each day that passes it appears that America's view on marijuana echoes Europe's more and more. The way things are going it does not seem like there will be any distinction before long. I think we need to remember that marijuana is still an addictive illegal drug and can have the ability to have an adverse affect on your life. The more the United States accepts medical marijuana the more it will accept its use in general - prescribed or not. Medical marijuana may be a progressive movement for the United States and in the end may be the right thing; but, we dare not forget that just because it becomes recognized as a medicine does not mean that it's not an addictive drug and needs to be monitored.

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