. . . Thursday July 21, 2005

The Gateway Latte

The other day at a roundtable thrown by SF’s Luncheon Society, I had the chance to ask California Attorney General Bill Lockyer about the insanity of the nation’s medical marijuana debate.

Like many of us, Lockyer has been directly impacted by the debate as two of his relatives have unfortunately suffered from diseases for which medical pot could provide rare moments of relief.

He described the current restrictions on medical marijuana as “silly.”

Of course, it’s really worse than that. The restrictions on the use of medical marijuana are cruel, unusual and wholly ridiculous.

The crazy thing is that I can see talking heads from either side of the aisle making an argument in favor of providing pot to those who suffer from serious diseases. Let’s add a dose of realism to the debate. At least in my neck of the woods, a bedridden and seriously ill patient is probably the only person who can’t easily procure some pot with little or no risk.

I wondered if now isn’t the time that a group of politicos could finally begin to add some common sense to this debate. Lockyer’s take was that, no matter how you position the issue, law enforcement sees pot as a gateway drug and to them it’s no different than coke or heroin.

It’s hard to accept that argument (for me and the Attorney General). After all, when you consider the cocktail of toxic prescription drugs that many of these patients are subjected to, if anything, marijuana is a drug that provides a gateway back towards weaker and less intense drugs.

If we are really worried about weak drugs that can bring out the addictive parts of our personalities, maybe we should focus on Starbucks, not weed. I’ve never seen a major group of people heading towards the outpost of my neighborhood’s local pot connection. But they are lined up out the door at every Starbucks in my city (and they appear every three blocks or so).

There are so many political issues where one has to, for sanity’s sake, sit back, sigh and just accept the nonsense.

There are other times when the stupidity crosses the line. Maybe we should call that gateway stupidity.

Concentration is important!