by J.D. Tuccille
January 4, 1997
For a man who says he would have inhaled, given a second chance, His Errancy, the president is taking a rather hard stance against the marijuana-friendly voters of Arizona and California. Lots of folks thoughts that people out west had caught themselves a good dose of common sense when they passed two referendums this past November that ease the use of marijuana for medical purposes. But Clinton, still smarting from his portrayal by conservatives as a draft dodger in the War on Drugs (and unwilling, this time, to actually play the role), declared a new skirmish against the demon army of cancer patients and glaucoma sufferers.
In their referendum, California voters allowed for the use of weed by people for whom doctors recommended marijuana as medically beneficial — glaucoma sufferers, cancer patients, AIDS patients, and the like. To avoid federal legal blocks, marijuana could be recommended verbally and not pass through the DEA-controlled morass involved with actual prescriptions. Medical users could also grow personal amounts of dope and save on the cost of buying on the street.
I wish this law had been on the books years ago when an old friend’s sister was dying, painfully, of bone cancer and a doctor kindly and quietly suggested dope to counteract the effects of chemotherapy. My friend was wisely assigned the (not unfamiliar) task of making the buy.
Arizona’s measure was similar, and extended the measure to controlled substances beyond the realm of the herb itself — LSD, heroin and such, many of which originated as the results of medical research projects. That measure passed by two to one, thoroughly confusing Washington Post editorialists who were locked in Arizonans-as-Nazis mode and ground the gears shifting to Arizonans-as-foolish-individualists.
Sounds pretty revolutionary, eh? Partially relegalizing drugs while bypassing the most obvious means of federal control. What’re the control freaks in D.C. to do?
Well, anybody who’s been watching could have predicted the result. The White House and the knee-jerk cannabi-phobes in the Republican congress screamed “fall of Rome!” and called for action now damnit! — an especially hypocritical stance for the GOP, which has been preaching personal liberty and state autonomy for several years. It was the White House, though, that came up with the game strategy: any doctor who recommended marijuana or other officially discouraged substances would face the loss of prescription rights and expulsion from programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Think about that. Official sanctions against any doctor opening his mouth to verbally recommend marijuana to a nauseous, pain-stricken, terminal cancer patient.
That sound you hear is the tearing-up of the First Amendment for use as toilet paper. After all, the Constitution is supposed to protect our right to speak out. But I guess I misread the aging document and skipped over the exemption for those addressing matters involving the sacred War on Drugs. After all, freedom isn’t for dissenters, is it?
Of course, the battle isn’t over by any means. If the administration follows through on its crusade against wrong-thinking physicians, lawsuits on constitutional grounds can and should be expected. Other flaws aside, the federal judiciary is still pretty solid in its support for free speech protections. Also, marijuana clubs thrived, illegally, before the referendums and there’s no reason to doubt that they’ll continue to meet a pressing need.
But Jesus, of all people with whom to pick a fight, the feds had to go after those who are going blind or dying. For that’s who will really suffer if doctors understandably back down in order to protect their medical practices. Except for those who choose to make a stand, medical careers will continue unscathed. But patients will suffer more agony than necessary, faster deaths, and the grim celebrity of evening news segments as they’re arrested for trying to ease the ravages of disease.
I’m too nice a guy to wish an appropriate ailment to be visited upon the purveyors of this particular bit of ...
Who am I kidding? Hey Bubba, have ya been working on your tan? Good, good. You know, if anything were to result from those long days under the hot golf course sun, and ya had to go in for treatment, I know just the trick for handling that nasty chemotherapy nausea ...
So you think I’m full of it, eh? Then go to the source:
- About Medical Marijuana — NORML
- Plan Targets Medical Use of Marijuana — Washington Post
- Federal Warning on Medical Marijuana Leaves Physicians Feeling Intimidated — Washington Post
- A Toke Instead of a Tablet? (Editorial) — Washington Post
- Club Medicine — Reason
Ah well, and so much for the power of argument. So back you go to Full Automatic or to my home page.
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Copyright (c) 1997 Jerome D. (Il Tooch) Tuccille. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Il Tooch is prohibited. Mess with me and I’ll use your polished skull as a beer mug.