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    From 1979 to 1989, California had a law that was supposed to help persons get cannabis for medical purposes. Many states now have doctors in charge of their own, independent cannabis programs (L.A. Times, 1982, et al.). However, instead of putting the California “compassionate cannabis” program under the health department, it was given to the attorney general—the state prosecutor.

    As far as we know, until the passage of Proposition 215, no Californian received legal cannabis for glaucoma, even though California law allowed for experimental cannabis medicine for 10 years (from 1979 to 1989). Its use in any illness other than chemotherapy nausea was rare due to the current federal government’s natural-medical marijuana prohibition.

    Both as state attorney general (1979-83) and as governor (1983-91), George Deukmejian deliberately and consciously thwarted doctors’ and researchers’ attempts to acquire federal cannabis from him and refused to carry out the program passed by California legislators. When the state’s bill authorizing medical cannabis lapsed in July, 1989, almost no one had benefited from it—and no legislator even bothered to try to extend or implement it.

    The federal government has had no coordinating program since 1976 to deal with the 36 states whose legislators have passed medical marijuana laws (over federal and DEA objections). Even worse, the Feds give these patients and doctors, consciously and with malice aforethought, the harshest and least therapeutic cannabis: the broad leaf.

    Healing agents and therapeutic compounds are concentrated in the flower tops. For these patients to buy top-grade “grass” on the black market costs anywhere from $200 to $400 per ounce. When the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was passed, one ounce of cannabis (what the AMA called the ‘raw drug’) was available from the drugstore for one dollar.

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