A common argument used by drug warriors and those opposed to marijuana legalization is that medical marijuana is just a “front” for legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. A recent gag on Saturday Night Live (SNL) brought that issue to the forefront, garnering some media attention for the Medical Marijuana Assistance Program of America (MMAPA) in the process.
The MMAPA reference came during the TV news parody segment “Weekend Update” as read by faux anchor Seth Meyers on the February 12th episode:
“A doctor in Colorado has converted two trailers into mobile doctors’ offices to help dispense medical marijuana to patients in rural areas. (Pause) Oh wait, you know I’m sorry, I read that wrong: Some guy in Colorado is selling weed out of a trailer, there you go (Audience laughter)."
On February 15, MMAPA founder Vincent Palazzotto showed his classy organization were good sports about the ribbing as he issued the following statement:
"First, we want to thank Saturday Night Live for highlighting the importance of medical marijuana and MMAPA's role providing access and affordability to low-income patients who have the least resources. We found the skit to be quite funny, in the satirical fashion it was presented.
“However, the national attention gives our organization an opportunity to expand the dialogue over medical marijuana, and how we as a society are including patients in developing America's medical marijuana laws. While we appreciate the humor presented in the skit about selling 'weed out of a trailer,' MMAPA is actually providing low-cost medical care and physician evaluations to indigent patients who lack the most basic life resources.
“MMAPA's physicians do not, under any circumstances, distribute medical marijuana, but rather provide only traditional and alternative medical treatments and evaluations to patients who qualify under state-specific guidelines. We have converted our recreational vehicles into mobile doctor's offices to bring alternative medicine to underserved parts of Colorado as well as to other states where medical marijuana is legal.
“So, while we appreciate the humor SNL has brought to this discussion, we hope people across America take this opportunity to expand the dialogue over medical marijuana while focusing our attention where the debate begins – with patients.”
SNL got their facts wrong too; Palazzotto isn’t a doctor, but rather created MMAPA as a means to distribute medicine to patients who receive physician recommendations for medicinal cannabis.
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