As members of Walnut Creek’s embattled pot club, C3 Collective staged a small “protest” at the City Council meeting Tuesday evening, new research from a UC-Berkeley lecturer made headlines in the medical marijuana world, suggesting marijuana as a treatment for alcoholism and addiction to other drugs.
“Substituting cannabis for alcohol has been described as a radical alcohol treatment protocol,” says Amanda Reiman, a lecturer at Cal’s School of Social Welfare, in her study, published in BioMed Central's open access Harm Reduction Journal.
Reiman considers cannabis to be a potentially safer drug than alcohol with fewer “negative side effects.” Her research focuses on the study and evaluation of medical marijuana dispensaries—such as C3 Collective on Oakland Boulevard—as community health providers, and on using cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs.
Her latest study features a poll of 350 cannabis users. The poll found that 40 percent used it to control their alcohol cravings, 66 percent as a replacement for prescription drugs and 26 percent for other, more potent, illegal drugs.
I know, I know. It would be nice if addicts of alcohol and other drugs could just give up all substances and live a clean, sober life. It’s challenging enough for me to give up some of my bad habits to have great admiration for a friend who gave up his long-time addiction to smoking.
Anyway, I’ve read up enough on the bio-physical realities of addiction to know that, for some people and with some drugs, it might take a lot more than will power, strong moral fiber, or a "higher power," to break free of an addiction.
Reiman belongs to the "harm reduction" approach to helping people address their self-destructive behavior. This approach, yes, has its detractors. She seems to believe that letting some addicts substitute pot for another, more harmful, substance, might be one way to go for them.
So, with this approach, could this mean that if you’re an alcoholic or a meth addict you could go to a doctor and get a prescription to smoke some pot instead of going to AA or NA? And could it mean that one day you could get your pot from C3 Collective?
That is, if C3 Collective, which opened this past summer, stays in business …
Collective members were at the City Council meeting Tuesday night, asking the city to stop trying to close it down, according to the Contra Costa Times. C3 currently is ordered to pay $500 a day in fines every day it is open for zoning violations.
While Walnut Creek has launched a study to look at if and how it would ever allow a medical marijuana dispensary to open in town, city officials currently say "no" to any pot clubs right now because their operation is illegal under federal law—though they are legal under state law. Walnut Creek officials have also filed a suit to shut down the collective because it, like any pharmacy, would be prohibited under zoning laws from operating in that particular location.