Avoid a Hasty Remedy To a Bad Law
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Avoid a Hasty Remedy To a Bad Law
Posted by CN Staff on April 01, 2009 at 05:00:40 PT
Source: Foster's Daily Democrat 
New Hampshire -- It is time to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Now illegal under federal law, there is sufficient evidence to show the drug has value in treating illnesses. At the same time, let's be sure reform is undertaken in an orderly manner.A bill before the New Hampshire Senate determines, "Modern medical research has discovered beneficial uses for marijuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions, as found by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in 1999." 
The legislative findings also conclude, "State law should make a distinction between the medical and non-medical use of marijuana. Hence the purpose of this act is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians and designated caregiver, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture if such patients engage in the medical use of marijuana."The measure is a sensible one  one that probably should have been enacted before this, but standing in the way has been federal law prohibiting such medical use.The present law gets its support from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, along with the Fourteenth Amendment and the spending power of Congress that allows it to do things that affect states. Federal law regarding marijuana had its genesis in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act and the Controlled Substance Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005.A broader marijuana debate has been burning for decades and it is one in which we choose to not engage at this time. It is the narrower discussion  the medical use of marijuana  that occupies our attention.The federal law places a barrier in the way of marijuana's prescribed medical use, but has allowed the use of opium derivatives for generations. Morphine and codeine have become staples in the control of pain  controls administered under professional and regulatory standards.Marijuana has been found to be useful in treating patients suffering from cancer and other debilitating diseases, as well as relieving such symptoms as pain, inflammation and nausea in many cases.There are 13 states, including Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island, that allow the medical use of marijuana with a doctor's approval or certification.U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week the Justice Department will no longer go after small dispensaries that sell cannabis for medical use  not as long as those dispensaries comply with state laws. Holder's position is one that uncomplicates the ability of states to take a direction in which they have been reluctant to move.Despite Holder's stance, the federal law prohibiting the use of marijuana for medical purposes does not go away. It's simply a law the Justice Department will not enforce.A bad law may be a law that should not be enforced. But to ignore laws is not the way to bring about reform.The Obama Administration will have a lot on its plate during the next several months  maybe during the next few years. Medical marijuana reform is unlikely to occupy a high position, nor, probably, should it.If any water is going to be carried in support of repealing the federal law, it will have to come from a prominent member of Congress  and someone not associated with a host of liberal causes.Meanwhile, the state Senate should delay action on HB 648  act in a manner that will ensure it is being sent to a committee of conference and held over at least until the Legislature reconvenes in January 2010, thus avoiding a hasty remedy to a bad law. Source: Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, NH)Published: Wednesday, April 1, 2009Copyright: 2009 Geo. J. Foster Co.Website: Articles:House OK's Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana Panel Backs Medical Marijuana Bill
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 02, 2009 at 08:03:25 PT
I think when Obama gets all his drug policy people in office that they will work hard on drug policy issues and Obama will check out their progress. That is what a President should do in my opinion.
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on April 02, 2009 at 07:50:35 PT
too busy?
"The Obama Administration will have a lot on its plate during the next several months  maybe during the next few years. Medical marijuana reform is unlikely to occupy a high position, nor, probably, should it."Why would medical marijuana reform be mutually exclusive to other issues? I don't think we're expecting Obama to personally overhaul this. Nor are we expecting Geithner to take time away from his duties with the Treasury to reform marijuana laws. It's the presidential administration of the United States of America, not some mom and pop small business with three employees. I think they have some people who could handle this. 
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