Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Medical Marijuana

For those who don't know, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the federal government and against medical marijuana. This has raised a certain amount of ire on both the right and the left. Kathleen Parker (Right), for example, waxes sarcastic in her latest article, which covers the ruling.
I've got that all-over tingly feeling not felt since Martha Stewart was put away and America's mean streets made safe again.

I'm talking, of course, about Monday's Supreme Court ruling against state-sanctioned medical marijuana use that will keep the terminally ill and chronic pain sufferers from firing up a marijuana joint, getting stoned and, in addition to risking acute munchies, enjoying a temporary reprieve from hellish suffering.

Thank G-d we've got that particular homeland security problem under control. Why, in the age of terror, one can never be too careful with dying people who have nothing left to lose.
Her column continues in that vein, wondering why, with so many law enforcement problems facing America, the Federal Justice system is focused on this particular issue. A question I've wondered as well. I've concluded that it's for political reasons; John Ashcroft would like to get elected to something someday. And he thinks getting tough with pot heads (even terminally ill pot heads) will endear him to a certain segment of the voters. He might be right.

Over at This Modern World, which now features a variety of bloggers, Greg Saunders (Left) discusses the issue in relation to the movement to legalize Mary Jane for recreational as well as medicinal use. His feeling is that, for those who really want to see Weed legalized, this was kind of a wrong turn.
Like I said before, I think the "war" on drugs is awful, but I thought we were talking about the ways marijuana helps ease the enormous pain and suffering of cancer patients. Yes, the two issues are related, but nobody should be exploiting the sympathy for the terminally ill to piggyback the larger, but tangential, issue of the excessive criminalization of narcotics onto this particular fight.

Furthermore, I can't think of a worse way to pave the way for medical marijuana than the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment as described above. I think doctors should be allowed to prescribe pot to chronically ill patients, but the idea of allowing bad laws to remain on the books while passing additional laws that make it illegal to enforce the existing laws seems like a big, big mistake. Sure, it may provide the necessary results, but the means to that end would probably be a legal mess that could end up confusing the issue even further.
That sort of makes sense to me. I think that combining the medical marijuana issue with the larger issue of drug legalization just ends up trivializing what is really an important issue in and of itself. That said, both sides have good reason to continue combining the two, unfortunately.

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