Monday, June 06, 2005

Supreme Court Says No To Helping Cancer Patients

Today the Supreme Court rules(pdf file) that the Federal government can tell states no on medical marijuana. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 3.1 million people use marijuana on a daily basis. This is not about abuse. This is about relieving pain and suffering for severely or terminally ill patients who can not function without the help of marijuana. Up until today, nine states allow doctors to prescribe or recommend marijuana as a treatment for their patients. The Federal government stomped on states rights once again. The Supreme Court was split on the decision, one I hope is appealed.

I once was a user in my early rocker days. I used it to get high. Once I grew up and got past this, I realized that it wasn't for me anymore. I do however advocate the legalization of marijuana for medical use, and yes personal use. It is no more dangerous then alcohol. It is most likely less dangerous. The use of law enforcement funds to try and stop the sale and possession of marijuana is absurd. President Jimmy Carter once said, "Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use." We could use our law resources more effectively. Maybe go catch those terrorist instead.

NORML is a non-profit group that has been trying to end marijuana prohibition for over 30 years. I have had phone conversations with their founder R Keith Stroup Esq. on several occasions, about several issues. He is no pot head. He is an intelligent individual, attorney, and in most cases no different then anyone else. His only difference is that he is fighting the fight for a group of individuals who are shunned by society. NORML has a ton of info on marijuana and it's good and bad points. I urge you all to go check it out.

Marijuana is not just for getting high. It's uses are broad. It can be used to make paper, rope, clothes, fuel for our cars that burns cleaner and it is a year around crop. It's medical use has been well documented and if we are for a "culture of life" then we would want patients to be comfortable in their living, wouldn't we?

What I think the big issue in Washington on marijuana is, is the effect on other industries in the US. Big lumber, big oil, pharmaceuticals and textiles. Plus, how would all the little beach towns keep themselves afloat if it wasn't for simple possession and drunk in public charges?

The bottom line is that: 1)criminal penalties for marijuana use causes more harm to individuals lives then the drug itself; 2)people are already using it and decriminalization would not increase the amount of people who use it, nor does having laws deter use; 3)we could use our law enforcement resources more wisely.

Before you all get to slamming my endorsement, let me say that I do not condone drug use. I'm not saying lets legalize drugs in general. Crack is bad, so are many other drugs. On the other hand, how many FDA pharmaceuticals could kill you in just one use? Yes a lot. I do not consider marijuana any different then alcohol. Alcohol was once in prohibition as well. I say legalize it, tax it, control it. Like everything else(except dying for your country) 21 and over for an age limit. There would be less problems with it legal then without.
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