Getting Tough With The Terminally Ill

Getting Tough With The Terminally Ill
Posted by CN Staff on June 07, 2005 at 22:55:02 PT
By Kathleen Parker
Source: Town
Washington, D.C. -- I've got that all-over tingly feeling not felt since Martha Stewart was put away and America's mean streets made safe again.I'm talking, of course, about Monday's Supreme Court ruling against state-sanctioned medical marijuana use that will keep the terminally ill and chronic pain sufferers from firing up a marijuana joint, getting stoned and, in addition to risking acute munchies, enjoying a temporary reprieve from hellish suffering.
Thank G-d we've got that particular homeland security problem under control. Why, in the age of terror, one can never be too careful with dying people who have nothing left to lose.With rulings like these, alas, comedy is doomed.The high court's 6-3 decision, in fact, had little to do with whether suffering people deserve relief, but whether the federal government has authority over states that have authorized medical marijuana use. To date, 11 states have such laws: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.The court ruled that even though medical marijuana may be homegrown and not for sale, it nevertheless falls under the federal Controlled Substances Act.While lawyers hash out the legal intricacies, normal people are left wondering whether the Supreme Court has been partaking of the evil weed. Exceptions would be dissenters Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas.Who, after all, gets hurt when dying or sick people smoke pot?Quick aside to the feds: When my spine is disintegrating from cancer and I'm blind from glaucoma and I can't take a breath without agonizing pain, I'm gonna toke up, OK? Just fyi.It seems remote to ridiculous that federal agents now will start arresting sick people for getting high, though stranger things can and do happen. Who could have imagined the scene we witnessed when then-Attorney General Janet Reno decided it was time for little Elian Gonzalez to get on back to Cuba? (I supported Elian's return to his father, by the way, but I must have been stoned to think we could accomplish a family reunion without a SWAT team and automatic weapons.)Ironically, the Supreme Court ruling follows a study by Harvard professor Jeffrey Miron recommending that the U.S. legalize and tax marijuana -- Endorsed by some 500 economists, including Milton Friedman, the report noted the high cost of marijuana prohibition - about $7.7 billion annually - and the boon to the economy that an estimated $6.2 billion per year in taxes would provide.Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the court's decision, offered a glimmer of hope when he noted that Congress could change the law to allow for medicinal uses of marijuana. By any measure, such a legal shift is long overdue and likely would be hugely popular.In an unscientific poll posted Monday on MSNBC's Web site, self-selecting respondents were asked: "Should the federal government prosecute medical marijuana users, now that it has been given the OK by the Supreme Court?"By midday, more than 63,000 had responded, with 88 percent saying "no." Ten percent said "yes," and 2 percent weren't sure. (Don't worry, two-percenters. It wears off in about three hours and then you can make up your mind.)Otherwise, more than 60 U.S. and international health organizations, including the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association, support allowing sick people to use marijuana under a doctor's care, according to the marijuana advocacy group NORML. Go to -- -- for a list and other information. Others, including the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association, favor more research into the medical uses of marijuana, according to NORML.As absurd as Monday's ruling seems, advocates for medical marijuana are not optimistic that Congress will have the courage to pass more reasonable marijuana laws. Which raises the question: Whatever happened to compassionate conservatism?What's more conservative, after all, than getting the federal government out of private, victimless, state-sanctioned decisions? And what's more compassionate than letting a woman with brain cancer feel a little less tortured during her final days?Congress has an opportunity to demonstrate how compassionate conservatism works by passing a bipartisan measure - the "States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act" (HR 2087) - that recently was reintroduced. Defeated previously, the act would change marijuana's classification so that doctors could prescribe it under certain circumstances without altering current laws related to recreational use.Thanks to the triumph of common sense over Prohibition, I can drink to that.Source: Town (DC)Author: Kathleen ParkerPublished: June 8, 2005Copyright: 2005 King Features SyndicateContact: info Website: Articles & Web Sites:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News Miron Report Court and Marijuana Label-Defying Ruling The Grip of Reefer Madness 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #10 posted by schmeff on June 08, 2005 at 11:17:08 PT
NAFTA End-Run (re #5)
"The DEA, when it tried to make like The Pope and declare hemp products illegal without any argument, got it's fingers burned for such presumption."The vehicle of that DEFEAT was a NAFTA lawsuit brought by Canadian hemp producers.Note the phrase 'federal controlled substances regulations' in the following quote from an article headlined "Foreign Investors Trump U.S. Laws Under NAFTA Rules" in the May/June 2005 issue of Public Citizen News:"Corporate investors also have used NAFTA's investor-state enforcement system to challenge domestic court rulings, local and state environmental policies, municipal contracts, tax policy, federal controlled substances regulations, federal and state anti-gambling policies, a federal government's alleged failure to provide water rights and even the provision of public postal services. In most instances, challengers have sought millions of dollars in damages, claiming that regulatory measures and government actions negatively affected their profitabiltiy. If an investor prevails in its NAFTA claim, the losing nation is obliged to compensate the from the national treasury."The controlled substances reference is to where the DEA was forced to back down on its hemp foods ban.Can NAFTA trump the Supreme Court? Does GW Pharmaceuticals not suffer economic harm when potential Sativex customers hear about this Supreme Court decision and when the DEA uses the resources of then U.S. taxpayer to spread the message that:"Marijuana is not medicine." -DEA spokesperson Richard Meyer.What do you think, Dr. Russo?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by Hope on June 08, 2005 at 10:33:25 PT
Hey, Runruff.
In the days when people could hit the dark streets in mobs carrying flaming torches, they could probably get the attention of their "leaders" better. Alas, those days are no more. Now we have to depend on their sanity, human decency, mercy, and thoughtfulness. In recent years I haven't seen much of that evident in our leaders.Trouble is, very few sensible people, like Ron Paul, want their jobs.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by runruff on June 08, 2005 at 09:38:31 PT:
No fighting spirit.
Americans are awash in bread and games.Orwell was off a few decades but the date he predicted was not the point. It was the events.Namaste
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by jose melendez on June 08, 2005 at 08:31:48 PT
our selves
We are all sky walkers. Corner us, and we will use the force of truth and justice.That's the American way . . . RIGHT?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by mastercy on June 08, 2005 at 08:10:53 PT:
something is not right here
Sometimes it feels like I'm in some sort of bad movie. All these decisions and laws being raised which I find unbelievable. A snitch law, in America: what about the fifth amendment? In my state, Texas, we're fighting against a bill that will allow for statewide "Alcohol" checkpoints where one can be required to give urin or blood. Drug dogs at every stop, w/o warrant. Hell, under the patriot act, you don't really even need a warrant, just throw in the word terror or terrorist or terrorism and its open season. Good god, and now the toll roads are coming and the tax by the mile scheme is in place. So lets give a hoorah for spreading "freedom" across the world as our republic turns into an empire. Wait, I've seen this movie before, its called Star Wars, but I don't think we have any Luke Skywalkers to save us from the Galactic Empire, we'll have to do it ourselves.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on June 08, 2005 at 07:17:42 PT:
Walters hasn't learned anything
The DEA, when it tried to make like The Pope and declare hemp products illegal without any argument, got it's fingers burned for such presumption. They, too, thought that with their "Final Ruling" they were some sort of religious order who could make law with the stroke of a pen. They learned otherwise in a stinging defeat.Note that word: DEFEAT. Their case was shown to have no merit, and they were practically laughed out of court and slapped with a permanent injunction against trying that kind of unConstitutional stunt again. For a bureaucracy like them, that WAS a 'defeat'.We have NOT YET BEEN 'DEFEATED'. We are still standing; nothing, but NOTHING, has changed.I learned while working on a farm when young you never back any animal into a corner unless you want to have the worst kind of fight on your hands.That's us. We've been left no avenue now but to fight, and fight hard. This will take all hands. No more fence-sitting; nothing less than the future of the remaining tatters of freedoms left in this Republic are at stake. And if Congress doesn't want to adhere to its own mandate to represent the commonweal over the special interest, then it is the last sign warning of the plummet before the abyss. This is make or break, people, make no mistake about it. This is the very last stop before the train reaches Fascist Junction. If this Republic cannot accept such a small expression of freedom as the sick being able to medicate in peace, then the time of exodus is upon us.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by cloud7 on June 08, 2005 at 06:49:19 PT
Sorry if this was posted somewhere already
ONDCP press release from Walters“Today’s decision marks the end of medical marijuana as a political issue."On the contrary, I'd say it's on the verge of becoming a huge one.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by OverwhelmSam on June 08, 2005 at 06:00:46 PT
Who Does Congress Represent?
Congress is not representing the people who elected them. I know a little about the law of agency, and if an attorney behaved the way Congress does, he could be disbarred, sued, and possibly charged criminally for misrepresentation. They are obviously not representing the people.Overwhelm Uncle Sam Now!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by jose melendez on June 08, 2005 at 04:58:06 PT
Seemingly OT, demonstrably not
Prohibitions increase demand: It happened Sunday when a 20-year-old woman walked into the store on Johns Island and tried to buy cigarettes. The 18-year-old clerk would not sell them to her because the woman's driver's license was damaged. 
 The woman argued with the clerk, then left, returning a few minutes later with a friend who also started arguing. The friend then jumped over the counter and attacked the clerk, sheriff's deputies said. 
 A second clerk locked the door while the two traded blows in a fight caught on the surveillance camera. The two knocked over candy stands and oil containers and broke beer bottles as other customers gathered outside the locked store. - - - "I am very glad I live where I do, so I don't have to run for my life like this man probably was doing,"
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on June 08, 2005 at 04:56:29 PT
Those nutjobs have been driven to distraction by their wars and federal mandates and borrowing money and whatever other nonsense driven agendas they support.I know it isn't fair to paint them all with a broad brush. However, I doubt very much they'll have the wherewithal to do the right thing and legalize medical cannabis. They would rather shoot themselves in the foot.They have no cash, no common sense nor a sense of common decency. They're out of the loop. You pay for it all. It's like they're all on drugs. I'll exclude Congressman Ron Paul. If there are any others as sane, I'll exclude them, too. Don't expect anything from them except for them to give themselves another raise and you another tax. Legal cannabis is 'pie in the sky when you die'.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment