The Court on High

  The Court on High

Posted by CN Staff on June 07, 2005 at 12:06:52 PT
By William F. Buckley Jr. 
Source: National Review 

USA -- The Supreme Court did what conservative court-watchers should welcome. It looked the California situation in the face and said: If Congress doesn't like the law, let Congress change it, but don't look to the Supreme Court to improvise on the drug laws.There are now four collateral movements in the matter of the use of medical marijuana where individual states have authorized it:
1) Federal prosecutors are free, after this clarification from the Supreme Court, to proceed to arrest users, on the grounds that the law is the law.2) The plaintiffs in the current case were two ailing women. Having lost with the Supreme Court, they have said that they intend to continue to use marijuana. One of them said that, actually, she has no alternative, because if she doesn't take the drug, she will simply die. 3) Observers sympathetic to the state laws allowing marijuana for medical purposes take comfort in realism. There aren't enough federal prosecutors in town to move against all the users. One estimate is that only one percent of such transgressions is actually meeting up with intervention by the federal constabulary. 4) In his opinion, Justice Stevens hinted that there were two ways to address the deadlock. The first and most obvious, of course, is for Congress to revise the current statute to make the exception for medical marijuana. But there is another approach, namely for the Executive to reclassify marijuana for medical purposes. How will these sentiments and inclinations fare? The easiest way is to treat laws banning medical marijuana about as anti-sodomy laws were treated for generations: Don't repeal them, but don't act on them. There is a theoretical objection to this escapist remedy — we like to think that laws are there to be obeyed. But to proceed under its empirical protection is an easygoing solution to hard, conflicting pressures.The relief — hinted at by Justice Stevens — that might be got by the Executive's adjusting the proscribed list to permit medical marijuana is opposed by the hardliners in the administration. These — in particular John P. Walters the drug czar — are relying on dogmatic positions which especially outrage those who have had relief from marijuana during their illnesses. Mr. Walters takes the position that it is not medically established that marijuana uniquely grants such relief as is being touted. Nothing is more infuriating to a person who has been relieved of crippling nausea than to be told that he has not been relieved. It is almost predictable, for reasons of political harmony and acuity, that the administration will dodge that problem by simply — doing nothing. What is depressing is the dim prospect of remedial congressional action. Individual congressmen shun the idea of licensing any use of marijuana, unless they can find a way to say that marijuana eliminates income disparity. But in search of political consensus on the matter, there is nothing clearer than the vote of the legislatures of the ten states that authorized medical marijuana. They did so and survived political vicissitudes. If these ten states can take a progressive position on medical marijuana why can't Congress do as much? There is opposition to be sure from more sophisticated observers. What they are saying is that the whole medical marijuana argument is something of a phony. It is certainly true that a lot of people who would like to use marijuana will go to lengths to feign a medical reason for doing so. But if a federal prosecutor is bent on practicing his profession, he is in a position to establish that the doctor whose name the scofflaw is citing as having prescribed marijuana — didn't really do so, or did so in such ambiguous terms as to persuade the jury that the marijuana user is in contempt of the law. On this front, the permissivists have an eloquent martyr, the late Peter McWilliams who ardently championed looser laws, who himself depended on marijuana for relief from the nausea caused by AIDS — and who died during a period when he was under court scrutiny, pending sentencing, and had to do without the drug.Taking marijuana when young is a stupid thing to do, but the young generation is not (yet) suffering from cancer and AIDS and other diseases from the ravages of which they might find relief, if they can dance through the congestion of laws and opinions that beset us.Complete Title: The Court on High: Medical Marijuana and The SupremesSource: National Review (US) Author: William F. Buckley Jr.Published: June 07, 2005Copyright: 2005 National Review Contact: letters Website: Related Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News Patients Remain Defiant Court Rules Against Pot for Sick People Let Congress Legalize It 

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help

Comment #7 posted by Hope on June 08, 2005 at 10:39:18 PT
Sounds like, maybe, a "stacked deck"...
"... an internal system for adjudicating difference of professional opinion."Key word being, "internal".
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by jose melendez on June 08, 2005 at 04:47:41 PT
facts, poetic
They don't DARE tell the truth:prohibition leads our youthtowards heroin abuse!Meanwhile drunks oppose a truceeven tightening the nooseand dismissing truths as moot.Here is why they omit facts:they want profits to the maxnever mind faustian pacts;"Pay no attention" they declare,"We stand here sans underwearto let Altria and Bayermurder millions, we don't care."That's the message they declareBuy our poisons, don't compareincreased harm from here to there.Just in case, here's a reminder:for each eye, we wear a blinder. - - - FDA invites IOM scrutiny
 Agency sponsoring Institute of Medicine study of U.S. drug safety system.
 Responding to a spate of negative publicity surrounding the flu vaccine shortage and Vioxx market withdrawal, FDA announced on Friday that it will sponsor an Institute of Medicine (IOM) study of the drug-safety system in the United States and implement an internal system for adjudicating difference of professional opinion.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by ekim on June 07, 2005 at 20:52:56 PT
Bill please read Jose case just taken to Rep Mica 
What is depressing is the dim prospect of remedial congressional action. Individual congressmen shun the idea of licensing any use of marijuana, unless they can find a way to say that marijuana eliminates income disparity. "Income Disparity"-----the Law against Cannabis was a Lie. Cannabis Prohibition makes sure no person can grow and profit from Cannabis thus stifeling imagination and imposing a false belief that is against the comon good which wants its people to leave this wonderful world as good or better so the next to come can work toward eliminating income disparity.Many people who grew or made products or used said products fought but were powerless to stop a small group in DC from stopping their livley and thus causing income disparity.
Chapter 4
"Did Anyone Consult the AMA?"
However, even within his controlled Committee hearings, many expert witnesses spoke out against the passage of these unusual tax laws. Dr. William G. Woodward, for instance, who was both a physician and an attorney for the American Medical Association, testified on behalf of the AMA. He said, in effect, the entire fabric of federal testimony was tabloid sensationalism! No real testimony had been heard! This law, passed in ignorance, could possibly deny the world a potential medicine, especially now that the medical world was just beginning to find which ingredients in cannabis were active. Woodward told the committee that the only reason the AMA hadn't come out against the marijuana tax law sooner was that marijuana had been described in the press for 20 years as "killer weed from Mexico."The AMA doctors had just realized "two days before" these spring 1937 hearings, that the plant Congress intended to outlaw was known medically as cannabis, the benign substance used in America with perfect safety in scores of illnesses for over one hundred years. "We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman," Woodward protested, "why this bill should have been prepared in secret for two years without any intimation, even to the profession, that it was being prepared." He and the AMA" were quickly denounced by Anslinger and the entire congressional committee, and curtly excused.3 *The AMA and the Roosevelt Administration were strong antagonists in 1937. When the Marijuana Tax Act bill came up for oral report, discussion, and vote on the floor of Congress, only one pertinent question was asked from the floor: "Did anyone consult with the AMA and get their opinion?"Representative Vinson, answering for the Ways and Means Committee replied, "Yes, we have. A Dr. Wharton [mistaken pronunciation of Woodward?] and {the AMA} are in complete agreement!"With this memorable lie, the bill passed, and became law in December 1937. Federal and state police forces were created, which have incarcerated hundreds of thousands of Americans, adding up to more than 14 million wasted years in jails and prisons - even contributing to their deaths - all for the sake of poisonous, polluting industries, prison guard unions and to reinforce some white politicians' policies of racial hatred. (Mikuriya, Tod, M.C., Marijuana Medical Papers, 1972; Sloman, Larry, Reefer Madness, Grove Press, 1979; Lindsmith, Alfred, The Addict and the Law, Indiana U. Press; Bonnie & Whitebread; The Marijuana Conviction, U. of VA Press; U.S. Cong. Records; et al.)
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by afterburner on June 07, 2005 at 15:06:47 PT
The Following Solution Is Pure BS
"The easiest way is to treat laws banning medical marijuana about as anti-sodomy laws were treated for generations: Don't repeal them, but don't act on them."It's obvious that the law enforcement community lobbyists on behalf of easy pickin's and more prisoners will continue to lobby against liberalization of the law as they have in Seattle, Washington, and Columbia, Missouri. They will also refuse to enforce state law as some have in California. Rule of law is being even more corrupted when the police refuse to follow the law. The US Supreme Court ruling endorses, or at least encourages, this disobedience. Congress is directly responsible for this lawlessness due to their superstitious and unscientific law-making, and they should be taken to task and sued!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by freedom23 on June 07, 2005 at 14:04:31 PT
Previous WFB-NR articles
The article "Free Weeds" appeared in the July 12, 2004 issue of the National Review. The cover had a large marijuana leaf on it."Free Weeds" by WFB"An End To Marijuana Prohibition" by Ethan A. Nadelmann very small picture of the cover in question (sorry) National Review - Marijuana articles on interest:"The War on Pot: Wrong Drug, Wrong War" by Rich Lowry (May 2004)"High Anxiety" by Jacob Sullum (February 2001)"Murder in California: The Case of Peter McWilliams (1949-2000)" by Dan Mindus (June 2000)
"Bullsh*t: Penn & Teller" vs the War on Drugs
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by GreenJoy on June 07, 2005 at 13:37:55 PT
When Young
 I actually believe that for at least some 15 - 16 year olds a little cannabis here and there is just the thing to unlock the mind and spirit. I don't regret one single puff on my behalf. Bill just said that to cater to the "message to kids crowd" and keep his check safe.      GJ
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by john wayne on June 07, 2005 at 13:11:03 PT
Bill Buckley has gone a long time without using cannabis. His ideas are florid, turgid, un-centered, fantastic. He cannot decide if he despises cannabis users or sympatizes with medical cannabis patients. I suspect decades of alcohol abuse are to blame.  If only he'd learned about cannabis when he was young, eh?
[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment