June 6, 2005

Supreme Micromanagement vs States’ Rights

Although I am pretty right wing by most people’s standards, there are a few issues upon which my views differ from those of many of my fellow conservatives, and in this instance I think the Supreme Court has given its blessing to the guv’mint to interfere in affairs that should be left to the discretion of individual states.

Court Rules Against Pot for Sick People

Washington (AP) - Federal authorities may prosecute sick people whose doctors prescribe marijuana to ease pain, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, concluding that state laws don’t protect users from a federal ban on the drug.


The decision is a stinging defeat for marijuana advocates who had successfully pushed 10 states to allow the drug’s use to treat various illnesses.


Justice John Paul Stevens, writing the 6-3 decision, said that Congress could change the law to allow medical use of marijuana.


In a dissent, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said that states should be allowed to set their own rules.


Interestingly enough, O’Connor was joined in her dissent by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas. Liberals take note: Medical marijuana is a liberal issue and there’s Clarence Thomas, the accomplished black man whom you demean, for his conservatism, as a traitor to his “people”, coming down on your side of the equation. Try and find some spin to put on that!


I am totally on the dissenters’ side in this.

Living in San Francisco and socializing with a lot of people here, I’ve gotten to know quite a few people who have medical marijuana prescriptions. These are people with severely painful, permanent internal disorders, AIDS and other ailments whose agonies are either relieved or minimized by smoking marijuana. It really, truly helps them and while it is profoundly less expensive than some of the pharmaceuticals they would otherwise have to take, many at the taxpayer’s expense, it also works better than many of those prescription drugs and doesn’t feature the harsh side effects that are associated with most pharmaceuticals.


I truly cannot understand why the folks on my side of the aisle are continuing to be so damned boneheaded about this.  


There is no interstate trafficking in California’s medical marijuana program, all the legal herb sold here is grown in California and it is illegal to transport it out of the state for commercial purposes. People can also grow plants at home for their personal medical use, and a great many do because it’s cheaper than buying by weight. Seeds and young marijuana plants are sold at many of the “weed shops”(my own term).

In short, as long as a state keeps its legal sweet leaf (think Black Sabbath here, with Ozzie on their album Master Of Reality) industry entirely within its borders, the federal government should allow that state to make its own determinations regarding marijuana laws and their enforcement.

That would leave a whole lot more ATF assets free to go after the heroin, crystal & crack cocaine, oxycontin and methamphetamine traffickers who constitute the real threats by purveying addictive products that destroy families, ruin lives and create violent street crime.

In my honest opinion, the government is wasting millions of dollars in man hours(ooops! This is San Francisco, so it’s person hours) and logistics fighting the sale, use and possession of a product that will inevitably be decriminalized, at the very least, within the next few years as members of more recent generations replace the older politicians in the Senate. 


“The states’ core police powers have always included authority to define criminal law and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens,” said O’Connor…. 


Right on!

by @ 7:31 pm. Filed under Opinion
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