. . . Monday June 28, 2004

Going to Pot

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether or not seriously ill people who smoke pot for medical reasons and on a doctor’s orders are violating a federal ban on marijuana.

The stem cell debate is pathetic, but it is complex enough and connected to enough hot button issues that one can at least sort of, kind of, understand the roots of the idiocy that seeks to limit the promise of this science.

But the effort to ban the use of medical marijuana represents a level of idiocy (and hurtfulness) that goes beyond a simple debate. Is there anyone on the planet who really thinks that smoking a joint has an effect anywhere near as powerful as the prescription drugs backed by big pharmaceutical companies? And are there really people on the planet that don’t think terminally ill patients and/or people who are experiencing severe pain should be able to take whatever they can to alleviate that pain? Are we really going to let something as insignificant as a ban on a natural plant prevent people from finding relief?

And what, really, are the ramifications here? If you are a white guy in a decent neighborhood, you can already smoke all the pot you want. In your house, in your car, next to a dumpster, on a hike, at a party or just walking down the street (I’m guessing here of course). In practice, in most communities in America pot is not even illegal. You smell it at ballgames and at concerts. It’s not an enforced law (again, for some people in some communities) because everyone knows that smoking pot is damn near harmless (especially when compared to, say, shotgunning a six-pack of low carb beer).

And let’s be totally realistic here. Extending the national ban on pot to medical marijuana will only actually limit the access to marijuana for a subsection of those patients who seek it. The rest of them will just buy it from a friend or grow it in a closet (and no, proceeds will not be diverted to terrorists during the process of getting the pot from your backyard into your pipe). And I think it’s safe to say that there’s not a cop in America that wants to spend part of his career raiding the backyards of cancer patients. Everyone knows this is nonsense.

Extending the ban to patients will only limit access to marijuana among those who are not fortunate enough to either know someone with a connection or to have a longstanding subscription to High Times. To be “blunt” this is bad politics for Bush because it really has a more detrimental impact on those who live in a red state. In the blue states, we can almost always find a away to score a joint.

So even though we know that pot really isn’t that big of deal, there are still those who are steadfast in their demand that its positive effects not be enjoyed by dying people in pain.

It’s just flat out sick. There is no excuse for this. It is cruel and unusual legislating and I really hope the Supreme Court (who should never even have agreed to hear this slop in the first place) slaps the Bush administration down hard on this one.

Concentration is important!