Cannabis Culture Rehashed
By My Nguyen
MTV’s Real World versus the real world. What’s the difference? There isn’t much if you look at the restrictions both lawmakers and the producers of MTV’s Real World have placed on marijuana. SaferChoice.org, a site that advocates a safer alternative to recreation than alcohol, began a petition last year to let MTV know it should “start getting real” with marijuana. According to the site, the network has aired reality shows that feature young people consuming large amounts of alcohol that has almost always resulted in violent, destructive, and even illegal behavior. Yet MTV has never once showed a cast member consuming marijuana on its shows, which every objective study has shown that it is a far safer alternative than alcohol. Not too long ago, SaferChoice.org reports that things have grown more out of control on one of the network’s more popular reality shows, Jersey Shores, when a drunken young man punched a cast member in the face after she had accused him of stealing her drink. The Safer petition asks that future cast members on The Real World and Jersey Shores and any other MTV reality shows allow marijuana to be used as a safer recreational alternative to alcohol. According to the site, millions of adults enjoy using marijuana responsibly in the real world, and the site goes on to say that MTV should stop driving cast members to drink and instead start being real.
Ironically, what is known to be the Music Television’s network policy on marijuana has become a pseudo-reality to the real world’s new rule, which inhibits the use of medical marijuana within San Diego County. According to NBCSanDiego, the San Diego City Council voted to place “restrictions on where dispensaries can conduct business, barring pot sales within 600 feet of places of worship, parks, schools and other sensitive locations” on Monday, March 28, 2011. NBCSanDiego reports that the council listened to four hours of public commentary before voting 5 to 2 to restrict dispensaries to industrial to light commercial areas of the city. Originally, the ordinance proposed to bar pot sales within 1,000 feet of certain areas, but city councilman, Todd Gloria, amended it to 600 feet restriction after more than 3,700 people voiced their concern via email that the proposed regulations would have pushed clinics out near the U.S.-Mexico border and to other remote areas that will make medical cannabis hard to reach by AIDs patients and veterans, and other patients who use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
It looks like the restrictions placed on dispensaries last month will also affect the newly installed marijuana dispensing machines called, Canna-Medboxes. Found inside the El Cajon Medical Group and the Redwood Collective, these machines that dispense marijuana products will have to be moved along with the clinics if the 1,000 feet ordinance was passed. The regulations would’ve limited the dispensaries and the Canna-Medboxes since few landlords would allow clinics space for rent.
It appears that Proposition 215, which was passed in 1996 to allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes, is undergoing some tough opposition. According to NBCSanDiego, the so-called “Compassionate Use Act,” did not specify how to distribute marijuana that is not grown by qualified patients themselves. Cannabis dispensaries happen to fill in this void, and medical marijuana supporters are battling to keep enforcers from regulating the process.
Major critics of the dispensaries say that the clinics have enabled ‘reefer madness’ to invade their neighborhoods, since apparently “anybody could get a card to smoke weed,” and want marijuana banned altogether.
With the amount of opposition being received, it looks like cannabis dispensaries won’t be having a breather anytime soon. And with such regulations in the works, what was once a legalized act will be pretty soon have patients who consume medicinal cannabis routinely turn to other means for treatment. Not quite criminals themselves, patients pretty much have to act like criminals in order to pick up medicine if the 1,000 radius proposal had been enforced. Although this is not something law proposers might have intended to happen—like the MTV’s Real World and Jersey Shores’ fiasco—both the MTV producers and lawmakers know that there is an alternative to this process, yet it still seems like the reality to this common denominator is that the real world is not yet ready for such changes.
1. Cubbison, Gene. “Medicinal Marijuana Showdown.” NBCSanDiego.com, 2011, March 28. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Medicinal-Marijuana-Showdown– 118788609.html
2. Maass, David. “Marijuana Dispensing Machines Comes to San Diego.” CityBeat., 2011, March 10.
3. “New Rules for Pot Sales.” Associated Press. NBCSanDiego.com, 2011, March 29.
4. “The Un-Real World.” SaferChoice.org. http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5559/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=896