Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rhode Island latest state to be swept up in unstoppable tide of common sense

2006 is still only a few days old, and already there's great news from Rhode Island, as that state's legislature voted to overturn a gubernatorial veto on the legalization of medical marijuana. Rhode Island is the first state to pass medical marijuana legislation since last summer's Gonzales v. Raich Supreme Court decision. I know I'm not the first blogger to throw drug czar John Walters's words back in his own face, but it turns out that his declaration of "the end of medical marijuana as a political issue" last June may have been a bit premature.

The elected officials of the people of Rhode Island apparently didn't see the SCOTUS decision as the end of the issue. Certainly the brave workers, activists and patients in California who continue to combat the federal government didn't see it as the end of the issue. While Gonzales v. Raich was certainly a setback for everybody fighting to provide sick patients with their medication, the hard work and dedication of those in the reform movement ensured that we're far from seeing the end of medical marijuana as a political issue.

Peer-reviewed medical and scientific studies have shown time and time again that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for myriad illnesses and symptoms. But you don't even have to take their word for it; just ask the patients and their family members who have found out firsthand just how well medical marijuana works. Many have found it to be the most effective treatment, and for some it's the only effective treatment they've found. Given all of that, I can't help but wonder why John Walters ever insisted on making medical marijuana a political issue in the first place.

Studies have disproven his hysterical prediction that legalizing medical marijuana would cause marijuana use by minors to skyrocket. And they've demonstrated that medical marijuana is not just propaganda from legalization advocates. So, since Mr. Walters is so interested in ending medical marijuana as a political issue, why doesn't he just look at the actual scientific research that's been done on the matter and stop his ONDCP's campaign of politicizing it? Here's a hint for you, Mr. Walters: medical marijuana as a political issue isn't going to go away until our government's stance toward it is in line with science, reason and the will of the people. As long as you and your office of propaganda continue to stand in the way of all three, you'll continue to have a fight on your hands. Your propaganda has not deterred us. Neither has the federal goonery that's been going on in California. So, just in case you haven't figured it out yet, Mr. Walters, this is a fight you will lose. The hard work, dedication and actual (as opposed to your feigned) compassion of the activists, volunteers and patients involved in this movement will see to that. Happy New Year, Mr. Drug Czar!


800 pound gorilla said...

As much as I might like a wedge in the boondoggle known as the War on Drugs, I'm not a big fan of medicinal marijuana.
1] Since it's illegal the only type of marijuana feasible is the smoked variety. Smoking is unhealthy.
2] It perpetuates the hoax that there are "medicinal drugs" and "recreational drugs". I'm putting a more detailed analysis of severe language pollution caused by the War on Drugs on my website under drug education.
3] The whole concept of proving any drug beneficial is ridiculous! They are all beneficial as described by the apostle Paul in Acts. I have yet to get any feedback from anyone suggesting that any one drug has no medicinal uses either physically or therapeutically.

I spent 8 hours editing out misleading language. All drugs have medicinal uses. Drugs are only a subset of medicines; not all medicines are drugs. All drugs either stimulate or depress normal bodily functions. If medication doesn't do either it's not a drug. A good rule is that if the drugs effects impair performance it's being used recreationally; if it improves performance it is a performance enhancer. The crossover between performance enhancing and recreational can be very subjective. If the drug is being used to help the body heal itself it is clearly medicinal. Overcoming nausea to enable nourishing the body is clearly medicinal. Whether the lung damage caused by smoking [thank you drug czar for impeding development of effective inhalant delivery systems that minimize lung damage] is more problematic than enabling nourishment is the only debatable issue.... and it's not even being brought up by the DEA because that argument would highlight the fact that they are impeding efforts to minimize lung damage.

Micah Daigle said...

800 lb gorilla...

You say: "Since it's illegal the only type of marijuana feasible is the smoked variety. Smoking is unhealthy."

First of all, as a self-proclaimed drug expert (supposedly expert enough to be writing educational books about them), you should know that marijuana has many intake routes. In addition to smoking it, one can digest it (through cooking it into food products) or vaporize it (which allows for rapid results but no "smoke").

Also, someone who is undergoing chemotherapy and has a short life-expectancy but has perfectly healthy lungs does not have to worry about the possible harms of smoked marijuana.

Then you say: "It perpetuates the hoax that there are "medicinal drugs" and "recreational drugs"."

Yes, drugs themselves are not "medicinal" or "recreational"... it depends on how they are used. BUT, there is still a distinction between medicine and recreation in respect to these drugs.

I think that nobody should go to jail for using marijuana, period. BUT, since political change happens step-by-step, I would rather put the interests of the sick and dying before the interests of recreational marijuana consumers.

FYI, I was there at the Rhode Island state house when this bill was passed. My friend Warren, who lives with exruciating pain and is able to live a productive life because of marijuana, had tears streaming down his face and could not believe that he no longer had to live in fear of arrest for just trying to live a normal life.

If you compare Warren to a casual marijuana smoker, you can clearly see that the two use the drug for a very different reason. It is arrogant to dismiss medical marijuana laws, like the one we passed in Rhode Island, when they allow people like Warren to live his life in peace.

You also say: "The whole concept of proving any drug beneficial is ridiculous! They are all beneficial as described by the apostle Paul in Acts."

You know what, JT. You're right. When doctors, scientists, and patients spoke before the RI General Assembly in an attempt to prove that marijuana is beneficial, we should have flown you in to give a speech about how every other drug is beneficial, and that we should legalize them all. You could have called upon documented evidence from the esteemed medical expert, the apostle Paul, and they surely would have been convinced. Silly us.

The fact is, JT, your rhetoric doesn't fall in line with reality. Unlike you, I am a "big fan of medicinal marijuana" because I've seen it work for people, and it seems to have less potential for abuse than many other drugs. I'll continue to work toward policy reform for all drugs (and all ways of using or abusing drugs), but this is a huge victory for suffering people in Rhode Island.

Show a little mercy and less arrogance.

Anonymous said...

Good grief. Someone give this gorilla a joint!

The SSDP folks are polite, tactful and compassionate people who want to let you voice your ideas. I am a way...but...

My book, my book, my website, my book. Your excessive self-promotion totally discredits whatever you are trying to accomplish...emphasis on whatever. You tend to ramble on and on like a (pardon the expression) delusioned tweaker.

As a middle-of-the-road kind of person, I can say with confidence that most people can't follow what you're talking about, let alone take the time to care (and not for lack of capacity to understand). You expect people to embrace your rhetoric as guidance for youth?

Bulls#it ain't nothing.

I'm not troubled by your disapproval of medic(in)al marijuana. To each their own. I'm disturbed by your bizarre, erratic, self-aggrandizing diatribe. Get some sleep, or go run a marathon. Perhaps some slow-brewed cannabis in milk?

I apologize if I seem callous. I don't claim to be an expert, but I definitely know a public liability when I read one. If you shoot blindly, expect a few "allies" to shoot back at you. Enough is enough.

PS- SSDP, feel free to delete my post.