Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Medical Marijuana

The Supreme Court has ruled that sick people can be arrested for smoking marijuana that has been recommended by their doctors. It was a 6 to 3 ruling.

A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration tried to quell public outrage by saying “we have never targeted the sick and dying, but rather criminals engaged in drug trafficking.”

Nice try, lying sack of shit. The lawsuit which led to Monday’s Supreme Court ruling was, in fact, triggered by the DEA raiding a woman’s home in California. She was growing her own marijuana to ease the pain of degenerative spine disease.

Perhaps more than any other issue, medical marijuana spotlights the schizophrenic, talking-out-both-sides-of-the-mouth nature of the Republican / Conservative mindset.

Let’s see, they want a “limited government” which can come barging into people’s homes and arrest them for using the “wrong” medicine. Ooookay. Enforcing safe working conditions? Protecting the environment? Nah, we don’t want that big intrusive government to come in and start meddling. But, a terminally ill cancer patient using marijuana to ease the nausea from chemotherapy? It’s an emergency! Bring in the government!

And what about those “states’ rights” that conservatives are always blubbering about? Ten states have laws allowing patients to use marijuana prescribed or recommended by their doctors. Each of these laws was passed by a public referendum. And all ten of these state laws have now been squelched by the federal government. See any irony here?

And what about Karma? Now there’s a loaded word. But, regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) or belief in anything beyond the five senses, everyone probably believes to some degree that “what goes around comes around.” If you think sick people should have their medication yanked away by the government, how could there not be a nagging little fear that you'll reap what you sow? Perhaps the DEA agent who plans a raid on the home of a cancer patient is sowing the seeds for his own diagnosis of “there’s a spot on this X-ray. We’ll need to run some further tests.”

If you are in favor of medicine being practiced by the government instead of your doctor, at least be consistent. Apply this deep conviction to your own life. If you develop chest pains, double vision, notice a lump, etc.: Don’t call your doctor. Call your favorite politician; call a narcotics agent. But do not call your doctor.


Blogger Brother Kenya said...

Good one, Tom. Finding hypocrisy is easier than foraging for mushrooms these days. It's especially interesting that Scalia voted with the majority when, were he a states' rights purist, he clearly should have stuck with his usual team mates.

June 7, 2005 at 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Brother Kenya: Yeah, Scalia's one of the biggest examples of that double standard. Unlimited personal freedom for CEOs and developers; and a theocracy for everyone else.

June 7, 2005 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Hammer said...

I think medical marijuana should be legal -- in fact, I've got no problem legalizing marijuana period -- but I think the Supreme Court got this one right. If the feds can't regulate drugs produced and used within a single state, I'd get very nervous about the quality of aspirin in Texas.

June 7, 2005 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Hammer: I agree on safety and quality control for medicine. But with all the hysteria and fury about drugs in general and marijuana in particular, I don't the government crackdown on medical marijuana is based on concern for patients' safety and well-being.

June 7, 2005 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Golf Grouch said...

I don't think there's been any problems with legal medical marijuana here in CA. Why do the federales feel that they must intervene?

June 7, 2005 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Unadulterated Underdog said...

I have often wondered why Republicans are so anti-marijuana. I am noot an advocate of the stuff but I can't see why they hate it so much. My theory is that they hate anything they can control and regulate for profit. It could also be that big tobacco has their wallets and marijuana is a competitor. I dunno what it is but they hate it for some reason.

June 7, 2005 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger erinberry said...

I think this ruling is ridiculous. Lots of drugs (esp. painkillers and muscle relaxers) that are illegal under some circumstances are legal when prescribed by doctors. If doctors think a substance will help patients, they should be allowed to prescribe it, and patients should be allowed to take it.

June 7, 2005 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

Medical Marijuana is just another attempt to have control over every aspect of human life in America. Remember also, that the Christian Right thrives on suffering. It is sort of a "suffer and die death cult". Pain relief and/or possible pleasure is to be avoided at all costs. Besides, someone in that much pain may needs to show enough strength of character to take it....we don't want them to become addicted, do we?

My aunt died of cancer in our arms before the pain got real terrible but we were ready to break the law if necessary to help her. That is what one does when one loves someone. The relief of pain also helps family members deal with the illness or death. The "person" in pain is relieved too, not to be a burden, or suffer in front of husband, kids, etc. Pain relief improves the "quality" of life and death. These church and court idiots need to talk to some hospice staffers to educate themselves.

June 7, 2005 at 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Political Grind said...

This should be enforced on the state level, not the federal level.

June 7, 2005 at 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Golf Blog Grouch: I didn't think there was any problem with medical marijuana either (in California where I used to live, or in Washington). There are too many problems the government can't solve; I don't know why they're wasting time with this.

OK Democrat: Marijuana really pushes the buttons of a lot of people, more than any other drug. My guess is because of the effects (according to the stereotypes anyway). Being calm, mellow, passive, philosophical, intrigued and fascinated with everything. It's the complete opposite of that All American Horatio Alger archetype: pull yourself up by your bootstraps, set a goal and reach it, go in for the kill, etc. I really think lots of fathers would rather see their sons drinking a quart of whiskey a day, or shooting heroin, than see them sitting there all mellowed out from a joint.

Erinberry: You're right, this should be a doctor's decision. How could a politician or a narc know more about someone's medical condition than a doctor? It's ridiculous.

Kitchen Window Woman: Yeah, it's a control issue for sure. And it sure takes a lot of courage to crack down on a terminally ill patient who's using marijuana. I don't know how these modern-day Inquisitors can look at themselves in the mirror.

Sorry to hear about your aunt.

Political Grind: It should definitely be a state or local issue. That's what conservatives should want, since they're always clamoring for states' rights and local autonomy. Now all of a sudden they want the federal government to come in and squish the will of states' voters.

June 7, 2005 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Sar said...

Medicaid, prescription drugs, now this. Seems the right cointinues to push their sick & death agenda.

June 7, 2005 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger Sar said...

...unless it's Terry Schiavo.

June 7, 2005 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

This really, REALLY pissed me off. Y'all are all correct. Marijuana scares right-wingers for some reason, and maybe Joseph nailed it on the head - no money in it for 'em. I think we've got to decriminalize pot anyway, much LESS for medical purposes.

But the only way we're ever going to fix these sorts of problems is by ELIMINATING the fundies from our Government, or this kind of crap is gonna happen again and again and again. Y'all notice that civil liberties are just for right-wingers nowadays, or is it just me?

June 7, 2005 at 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Sar: Yeah, if you're a fetus or a vegetable the Right will swoon all over you. Otherwise, just die already.

Gun-toting Liberal: Yup, the fundies are just gonna keep doing this kind of thing again and again until we stand up to them.

June 7, 2005 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Just another point of states rights being trampled on by the current regim---er---government:)
of course it doesnt really matter---UNLESS YOURE THE ONE WHO IS SICK!

June 7, 2005 at 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Kevin: Yeah, this regime wants states' rights when it serves their purposes; then they'll flip-flop and squelch those same states' rights at the drop of a hat. And it sure takes courage for them to crack down on sick people.

June 7, 2005 at 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Kevin @ PK said...

Scalia is pandering for the next open Chief Justice nomination.

What I found most interesting about this decision was Justice Thomas' dissenting opinion. Particularly because he seemed to take more of a personal liberty angle then a state's rights angle.

Frankly, I think that was a rather brilliant way to neutralize the argument cited by the majority. Thomas refused to grant them the agument that medical marijuana which was never bought or sold and which never crossed state lines is Constitutionally the Congress' personal playground to regulate as they see fit. Doubly surprising because Thomas isn't known as a brilliant jurist. But, on this case I think he hit it outta the park.

June 7, 2005 at 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Kevin@PK: Yeah, I also think Scalia is drooling for the Chief Justice spot. And Thomas' decision was definitely surprising. Whatever his motive, I can't think offhand of any ruling of his where he sided with the individual over the government (not counting all the times when a CEO or factory owner is the "individual" being "oppressed" by environmental and worker-safety laws).

June 7, 2005 at 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

I think marijuana scares them for a couple of reasons, both dealing with massive amounts of ignorance:

1. back in the 50's, that "nicer" time they like to dream about dragging us all back to, filmstrips would show "marijuana junkies" - and the images kind of remind me of heroine...spacy, violent, etc...which is so far from the truth that it's actually funny. So, here we have this whole bullshit mythology built around it

2. they really do think that someone dying of oh, let's say, that degenerative spinal disease, who is in massive amounts of pain, should die gracefully and with strength, and serve as an example...which is again so far from the truth of death it's funny - death is ugly, smelly, and while unavoidable, now at least the suffering involved can be lessened without turning the person into a zombie - except it can't in 10 states that had the foresight to allow it, because medical marijuana is now federally outlawed.

These people never cease to amaze me with their narrow-mindedness.

June 8, 2005 at 3:55 AM  
Blogger frstlymil said...

And yet, the Fundies are doing nothing to re-introduce prohibition of alcohol...could it be that the economics involved outway the potential harms from years of alcohol abuse, alcohol related domestic violence, traffic fatality, etc...? Any cancer patients beating their spouses out there after smoking a bowl? It is again, sheer hypocrisy - and I think you're right - there's not enough of a profit potential in marijuana...so best to fight it.

June 8, 2005 at 6:41 AM  
Anonymous pia said...

I think that they're so scared of marijuana for several reasons
1)the old adage--you never heard of anybody go on a shooting rampage while high on marijuana--it's a truly victimless crime, and having to justify alcohol being legal while marijuania isn't is just too difficult
2)marijuana helps many medical conditions much more than any prescription medication therefore people in the later stages of certain diseases might chose to forgo the prescription and stick to marijuna--then what would the drug companies do?
3)marijuana could be grown easily in the USA, and if avaliable legally would push too many buttons--the government that looks the other when it's imported in--the cartels that control them; sheriff's, DA's etc wouldn't get credit for those amazing aerial views of marijuana fields, and the subsequent busts
4)while marijuana is illegal, dealers can make incredible amounts of money by selling it, and some of the money goes back to law enforcement officials to look the other way--good cash flow item
5) the public is educated and conditioned to believe that it's just as dangerous as heroin or crack cocaine, cocaine, etc.

If I had a friend or relative who was sick I would risk everything to get them marijuana for medical reasons. Oh hell, I have. In New York we have the archaic Rockefeller laws which almost policeman wants to enforce. As long as the Rockefeller laws remain in place, you have to do something really stupid or somebody has to have a vendatta against you for you to be busted. At least that was my experience as a Grand Juror. So the most archaic Dranconian laws for drugs, not against them
(I'm going for the longest comment in blgging history by a non-male award, here)

June 8, 2005 at 6:50 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Bee: I've seen a couple of those early movies: "Reefer Madness" and "Marijuana: Assassin of Youth." I think they were made in the '30s or '40s. They made a comeback during the early '70s; people would get stoned and then go out to see "Reefer Madness" and laugh their asses off. The irony -- that probably wasn't the intention of the narc-types who made those movies.

I just wish these people who want a theocracy would move to Iran or Afghanistan. Sure, it's a different god, but they'd get used to that small adjustment and soon they'd feel right at home.

Frstlymil: Yeah, I'd have a hard time explaining to a newcomer why pot, with no violent side effects and no long-term health effects, is illegal; while alcohol -- with all the crime and accidents it causes -- is legal and encouraged.

No logic whatsoever. I'm sure the government could make lots of money by legalizing and taxing pot, but the alcohol and tobacco and pharmaceutical companies wouldn't allow that.

Pia: You're right, a lot of powerful people and groups benefit from having marijuana illegal but not enforced evenly. Dealers, growers, cartels, etc. There are 3 counties in northern California that would go broke overnight if pot was either legalized or if the laws suddenly started being strictly enforced.

And every year, northern California gets raided by federal narcs using helicopters. They fly about 100 feet overhead, scaring the shit out of everyone's kids and pets, just to look for pot plants. No matter how many schools and fire departments have to close for lack of funding, there's always plenty of tax money available for these annual helicopter raids. Priorities, I guess.

I remember when that Rockefeller law was passed. There were these sinister ads on the radio, with the announcer warning of these huge sentences you'd get for any drug violation. Several times during the ad, you'd hear the sound of this huge metal door slamming shut.

June 8, 2005 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger zencomix said...

dead president's corpse in the driver's car
the engine runs on human tar....

June 8, 2005 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

The Government makes more money by keeping recreational drugs illegal. That way, they can justify the huge "War on Drugs" beaurocracy and all the huge paychecks involved in conducting sting operations, trials, a WAY too big prison system. Without declaring War on people who get high, none of this spending would be necessary. Same with the war (small "w") on prostitution. It's really hard to regulate things that either occur naturally, or that can be easily grown without the Government seeing it grow inside your home.

Ah, but they have the USA Patriot Act to assist them in rooting through your belongings when you're not home, so what are they worried about anyway? Ahh, that's right - no money in it. Sorry, I forgot.

June 8, 2005 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger k said...

just browsing...
I find this topic super facinating as the laws are slowly changing here in Canada.
There are now grow-ops underground in Manitoba, I think, where the government is growing for medicinal purposes. That way they can control it and make money off of it. Seems logical. In BC alone (where I'm from), the illegal export of pot to other provinces and most of it, to the states, is a Billion dollar industry. Now, if the government somehow could maintain control over that, there would be no debt. The states could learn a lot by how we're doing stuff...

June 8, 2005 at 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Zencomix: Yeah, you got it, more lyrics from that same Doors' song. I haven't played the record in a long time; I almost forgot about that line.

Gun-toting Liberal: Yeah, the War on Drugs is pretty lucrative. Even the prison industry alone -- in California they call the 3-strikes law the "prison guards' full employment act." They'd make more money if they legalized pot and taxed it, but too many powerful interest groups wouldn't allow it. Same with prostitution, like you say.

Assistant K: Canada is definitely more sensible than the US about drug and victimless crime laws. I live in northern Washington, just a boat ride away from Victoria. I don't smoke any more, but BC Bud is supposed to be popular around here.

June 8, 2005 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger OTTMANN said...

Seems liberals can't handle their own double standards. Medical dope is just an excuse for potheads to use their bongs in public. If legalized, anyone would be able to get their docs consent.

Conservative don't hate it, most of us have just grown up after realizing it's harmful effects, such as laziness, memory loss, munchie cravings, etc., et al. Living in a haze is kids stuff. Not to mention that pot has 10 times more carcinogens than Tobbacco and leads to lung cancer much quicker. Trading one disease to lessen another's effects isn't too bright.

You want to smoke that crap, move to Canada with the other "smart" ones! Ya Hey dare!

June 8, 2005 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

Ummm... ottman...

I don't smoke that crap. I just don't care if YOU do and I don't want to spend a part of my precious paycheck trying to catch you, try you, and incarcerate you for it if you do. What's so hard to understand about this?

June 8, 2005 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Ottman: Uh oh, got a live one here.

If you can't grasp the difference between using a drug for medicine and for recreation, I don't know why I'm even bothering discussing this. In case you aren't aware, doctors routinely prescribe Demoral and Morphine to their patients. These drugs are narcotics, same as heroin, and for some reason nobody gets hysterical about people turning into junkies because their doctor prescribed morphine for severe pain.

Maybe we shouldn't allow doctors to give sodium pentathol to their patients during surgery. It might encourage drug use. Lying there wide awake and screaming while your spleen is being removed -- builds character and makes you a Better American.

You conservatives are the ones who are always blathering on about limited government and states' rights -- make up your mind!

As far as moving to another country, there are already several theocracies (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan) where you'd probably be in seventh heaven. Why are you still here?

June 8, 2005 at 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Gun-toting Liberal: Sorry, I guess your comment came in while I was answering Ottman. But you summed it up -- it isn't whether somebody gets high on booze or pot (or at all). It's whether government money and manhours should be devoted to regulating people's private behavior.

BTW, I'm unable to comment at your site (even with those extra steps of using the Ctrl and/or Shift keys). Just wanted to let you know that I have you linked and check out your site regularly.

June 8, 2005 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger ~jay said...

in an age where states are going bankrupt to Medicaid and Medicare, we are once again confined by an arcane, outdated, and hopelessly wrong way of thinking. Of course in this crowd I don't need to state all the reasons why this legislation is wrong, but I can at least offer up my thoughts on how to save our economy...

regulate it!~

with all the money the tobacco industry is losing to lawyers, this could be a BOON, because no one can argue, "hey, no one told me this shit was bad!"-- we've been hearing all our lives (at least those of us born under reagan and who learned to read when Bush I said, "read my lips...") how BAD marijauna is.

Look, no lawsuits!

It would be a new source of revenue and jobs (if sold like tobacco it would probably pay for itself in taxes in a matter of months), it would be something to regulate-- something fundies love to do, it would be something the anti-smoking advocates could go after so they'd have even more to do....

See, there are answers that would make everyone happy.

Ah, but this would be the simple thing to do.


June 8, 2005 at 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

~jay: If we discontinued the war on drugs, we could balance the budget overnight. The trillions we spend spying on people, arresting and jailing them, all for a "crime" that doesn't bother anyone else. It makes no sense at all.

You're right, nobody could file a lawsuit because they didn't know about the side effects of pot. For decades we've heard it all: hair on the palms of your hands, heroin addiction, you name it.

June 8, 2005 at 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Mary Jane Cannibus said...

These folks aren't "Afraid" of the hemp. They don't care that it can help these folks who have no other recourse. The issue is, there's NO MONEY in it for the drug companies. Think about it. Why would the drug companies even THINK about letting folks grow their own medicine? It's just like everything else- follow the money and you'll find out the truth. You can bet your ass that if drug companies could figure out a way to market and cash in on medical marijuana then there'd be some serious movement on capitol hill to overcome the "social" objections. But there isn't anyway for Smith-Cline to monopolize the market and capitalize on the profits so it's not gonna happen. All the reasons and excuses to keep hemp illegal are just BS smokescreening the reall issue- there's no money in it for corporate America so it's not a priority for the politicians on their payrolls.

June 10, 2005 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger ~jay said...

I have only two words for that, and those are

Philip Morris. :-)

There is money in it for anyone who would go after it. And with that money comes any politician that would fight for the rights of the marijuana farmers of America. lol.
you think the coffers of Pharmaceutical America are the only ones the fundies will accept campaign funds from?


June 10, 2005 at 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

~jay and Mary Jane Cannibus: That would sure be the corporate catfight of the century. The pharmaceutical companies vs. the tobacco companies. But the Fundies would side up with the pharmaceuticals, so that would give them an edge. Either way it would be entertaining to watch the corporate slugfest and the strange bedfellows that would result.

June 10, 2005 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Basketball Is Life said...

uggh. how is this still conversation?

why do conservatives only argue one point and one point only? how many college fratboys die annually in hazing drink debacles???

haha. it's soo NOT funny.

and the "we've grown up" mentality really irks me. people who say that they outgrew pot are WAY too ego driven. to think you've mastered the meaning of anything that comes from mother nature is rediculous. go master viagra. it's a manmade blindness maker! nobody ever went blind from a few bonghits...

saying "i grew up" simply means "never really understood the right dosage"... shhheeeshh. it goes on and on...

listen to the conservatives and all you will learn is that condoms don't work!

June 20, 2005 at 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Basketball Is Life: Yeah, pot sure does push conservatives' buttons. Like you say, nobody ever went blind from smoking pot; no fratboy ever smoked himself to death.

June 20, 2005 at 11:03 PM  

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