Breaking the Stigma of Medical Marijuana

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 The question of whether marijuana should be legalized, especially for people who benefit from it medically, has been answered in Seattle and Washington.

Voters believe marijuana should be decriminalized and easily available to those who need it. But there is still a stigma attached to marijuana, especially in the Asian community where generational issues affect awareness of the potential benefits of medical marijuana.

Even though voters have deprioritized enforcement (Referendum 75 in Seattle)

and supported access for patients who need medical marijuana (Initiative 692 in

Washington state) the state and federal government have maintained policies that, in effect, are business as usual, locally.

Nevertheless, two Asian-owned and operated businesses are braving an uncertain environment, working on how to meet the need both from the clinic and dispensary side. One of the managers of Northwest Green Medical Group says that they see themselves as “pioneers” of a new health business. He says that businesses like his are trying to meet patient needs.

The Vietnamese American manager, who requested to remain unnamed, pointed out that many patients hover in the gray area of legality.

“We have professionals who worry they might lose their licensure if they get caught with marijuana,” he says. His clinic is trying to destigmatize getting medical marijuana, making it more like a regular trip to the doctor’s office.

Another advocate thinks that marijuana should be legalized, regulated, and taxed just like alcohol. David Tran says his dispensary, Conscious Care Cooperative, is not about recreational use but providing “qualified patients with high quality medicine in a safe environment.” The co-operative is organized as a non-profit organization but Tran still looks at it like a business. Read more here.

He believes that “until there is education to let the Asian community know about the medicinal values of this natural herb,” demand for medical marijuana in the Asian community will lag. Age also matters suggests Tran. “Our generation today is more saavy than ever, because they can keep up with the news, and they can see clearly that the State of Washington overwhelmingly supports medical marijuana, but their parents often times don’t share the same opinion. “