The Little Shop on Telegraph Avenue

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Friday June 29, 2012 - 01:24:00 PM

When taking my daily morning walk, heading toward the U.C. Campus, I pass a small, inconspicuous shop at 2590 Telegraph Avenue, two blocks from my apartment. Above this shop is a bright green sign with a cross, stating "Patients Care Collective." Standing guard at the shop's iron fence are three burly, but amiable young men who work six days a week, 12 to 7 p.m., (closed on Sundays). To gain admittance to this shop, customers must show a doctor's note saying that the marijuana is to provide medicinal relief without getting stoned. I quite often see men entering the shop surreptitiously, as though reluctant to be seen. 

Marijuana is said to help kids with autism, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. It also eases the nausea and discomfort that accompanies cancer treatment. Lab research shows that over the years the black market has bred almost all CBD out of pot, precisely because it limits the euphoric effects, the feeling of being stoned. Ironically, about 106,000 Americans died last year from pharmaceuticals -- zero died from marijuana! 

I decided I should do a bit of scholarly research on the subject. During a recent House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing, Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart repeatedly refused to admit that anything was more addictive or harmful than marijuana. She was asked whether crack is worse than marijuana and replied, "I believe all illegal drugs are bad." She conceded that heroin was more addictive than marijuana, adding that "some people become addicted to marijuana and some people to methamphetamine." 

So, while federal crackdown may result in marijuana users being treated as common criminals, hopefully Berkeley will continue to extend service to its citizens in need of medicinal relief.