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J.M. shares reassuring words he's received from readers

Journalists are a contradictory lot.

Many of us are all hard and leathery on the outside, our skin thickened by years and years of barbs and arrows from every direction—yet a lot of us are all soft and insecure on the inside. If you live with one of us, you know what I mean.

So, as much as I try to not care what you think, I do care. I have heard from numerous readers in the past few weeks, and most of them have good things to say. Encouraging, even.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I hadn't met anyone who started smoking marijuana because of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. I have now, via email. A woman in her mid-60s, who asked not to be identified (please see the note about shame below), feels a bit adrift. Despite having grown up in the 1960s, she says, she has zero experience with pot.

"And now? Give me a break! What do I do, go down to Club Congress or El Con, (and) try to sniff out who might have smoked some pot and ask, 'Say, where do you buy your stuff?' Yeah, that'll go over well," she said.

A retired Army officer in his late 60s is in a similar boat. He tried marijuana for pain when he was visiting friends in other medical-marijuana states and was able to get rid of the Advil he was taking every four hours.

Now our culture of finger-pointing has the big, strong soldier cringing in fear.

"I would welcome an evaluation for possible authorization in Arizona, but I am very fearful of even making an appointment. I fear embarrassment and legal hassles. In ______ I could at least obtain some MJ through my friends," he wrote.

Maybe he should go see Kevin Lewis, a doctor who is proud to offer his patients another option from his little black bag. Lewis wrote to decry the certification mills that seem to have swooped in from out of state to make a buck. They should be ashamed, not the rest of us.

"Medical marijuana is a tool, not the answer, for optimal patient care. If certifying physicians would treat marijuana in this manner, then the shame associated with medical-marijuana certification would fade," Lewis wrote in response to my Oct. 6 column about shame. (See his letter in this week's Mailbag section.)

It's encouraging to see doctors helping people discover marijuana for the reasons the law intended—not just so they can make their grow operations legal-ish.

And Tucson has long had those grow operations, maybe even closer to you than you think. The growers have been hiding their plants in back rooms and sheds behind the house, the jobs they create thanks to the use of their green thumbs uncounted on the tax rolls.

Now that can change. They can begin to reveal themselves. Maybe even the pot they grow will improve, suggests one reader.

"Now it's legal, and growers are communicating with each other, sharing techniques and strains and whatever. ... Will we start to see new domestic strains? Local strains best suited for our unique climate?" he asks.

Hmmmm. I hope so.

More by J.M. Smith

  • R.I.P., J.M.

    The hypocrisy of America's cannabis policy finally does our writer in
    • May 15, 2014
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    When cannabis is illegal, reasonable people turn to Craigslist and shady disclaimers
    • May 8, 2014
  • The End Is Near

    Mr. Smith reflects on the life of his caretaker as he rages against the dying of the light
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

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