Hard on Drugs, Soft in the Head
December 1, 2004
I hope the Congressman was wrong about his colleagues. Legalizing a medical treatment is not drug abuse, nor is it a prediction of drug abuse. Addictive drugs will be abused whether they are legal or not.
We use common sense, however, and legalize those with positive value. The average medicine cabinet is a deathtrap for those determined to do themselves harm, and is a source of temptation for the addict; but we still want our aspirin, our blood pressure medicine, and our anti-depressants when we need them.
Marijuana is illegal because a law says so, not because physicians say it has no positive value. Marijuana impairs mental and physical function, but then so do many prescription drugs. I remember discontinuing one medication because its side-effects were worse than the condition it was prescribed to treat. Some don't have that option, like the transplant patient who reminded us that he was "drug impaired" by his anti-rejection medication. His choice was impairment or death.
The main problem with marijuana is its evil reputation. Deserved or not, "hophead” is more pejorative than “stinking drunk.” The main difference, it seems to me, is that legislators are more likely to have drunks than hopheads in the family.
The article quoted in the epigraph is about the plight of a woman in his area who uses a prescription for medical marijuana. The state says this use is legal, the national government says it isn’t. The Supreme Court of the United States is considering whether she and others like her should be permitted to continue this form of physical relief from her constant pain.
You don’t have to be a Libertarian to say it is none of the court’s business nor ours either. Common sense says it is patient business and doctor business, not lawyer business. No interstate commerce is involved, nor are the people involved asking that marijuana be packaged like potato chips and sold in coin machines. Somewhere sometime people may argue that marijuana should be on the open market, but this is neither the time nor the case. This is the simple human question of whether a patient in agonizing pain, who has found a degree of relief in marijuana, should be allowed to continue to use it. Her state agrees with her.
I am not qualified to judge the medical effectiveness of marijuana, but then neither is the Supreme Court. The lawyers and legislators should butt out and let the physicians do their thing.
About the Author:
Barnabas is down to one prescription a day, but he likes vitamins.
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