If Only In Arizona...

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If you have a medical marijuana card in Denver, you could get a job working for the city's alternative weekly, Westword, reviewing the different offerings in the city's growing number of medical MJ dispensaries.

According to an article in today's Telegraph, the paper had been running reviews by a staff writer using the pseudonym Mae Coleman, a Reefer Madness character.

However, the writer “wanted to return to the day job”, according to the paper, so the position was opened up to the public.

The job application involved writing a short essay on “What Marijuana Means To Me”. Apparently, the first response came within five minutes — “fast work for a stoner”, as Westword notes wrily.

A few minutes later, the first enquiry from the media arrived. “Really fast work for a journalist”, says Westword.

According to Westword's Patty Calhoun, their ad for a medical marijuana dispensary reviewer asked potential critics to write a brief essay on "What Marijuana Means to Me." First reply came in five minutes, and the media attention regarding the ad came a few minutes later.

Our first applicant replied within five minutes — fast work for a stoner. Our first media response came a few minutes later — really fast work for a journalist.

A week later, our quest has been captured by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times, and the essays continue to pour in — some silly, some actually spelled correctly (many potheads don't seem to care for punctuation), some very sincere. A sampling:

From an engineer who started with the great line "Hey, Joe, whatcha doin with that doob in your hand...What Mary Jane means to me: As a 'burner' of more than 14 years, I have spent many an hour pondering the importance of herb in my life... among other things. Recently, however, I have realized a new herbal importance to my overall quality of life. I am an outdoor sporting enthusiast and have experienced my share of injuries throughout the years, as many of us do. As I have aged (elegantly, damnit!), I have developed a couple of recurring conditions that have allowed me to legally indulge myself as an alternative to prescribed narcotics and the dangerous longterm effects. Long story short... (TOO LATE!) I have been frequenting many of our local dispensaries with mixed experiences. Most places are kind and professional. Others, though, are simply drug dealers that check your ID. I think that you have a great idea — a service, rather, that will help your readers make educated decisions and enjoy their 'medication' experience to the fullest..."

Just think of the possibilities if the Tucson Weekly was able to hire its own MMJ critic (Medical Mary Jane), allowing us to join in this... fun. Maybe it's a possibility if medical marijuana advocates get their way. Folks with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project are currently gathering the needed 153,365 signatures to get another measure on the ballot next year.

Arizonans have been here before when a measure was passed in 1996 with 65 percent of the vote. That initiative said patients could use marijuna with a doctor's prescription, but federal law prohibits doctors from writing prescriptions for harmful drugs without medical value - although seven other state allow patients to receive marijuana through a prescription. In 1997, the Legislature overturned the initiative anyway and in 1998 a referendum reinstated the measure and then Arizona voters passed the Voter Protection Alliance Act, to prevent the guys in Phoenix from undoing voter-passed measures. Arizona's ongoing saga with the drug continued when another initiative was defeated in 2002.

Proving, even back then, that Democrats and those in chronic pain will never get a break with our state government.

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