June 11, 2005

Stirring The Pot

James Lileks on medical marijuana as a "compassionate conservative" issue...

Hospitals have been using morphine by the gallon for decades, and you don't find it at the drugstore next to the corn pads and Band-Aids. It's very illegal, but its use in hospitals hasn't led to widespread use in the general society. You don't often read about once-thriving neighborhoods reduced to ruin by a plague of morphine addicts.

There are ways to keep medical marijuana from getting out into the general population. Keep it in suppository form – notoriously hard to light – and keep the dosage mild. Compared to the high-power knock-you-down reefer favored today, Uncle Sam Brand would suffer in the marketplace...

... Granted, it would diminish the government's moral authority to condemn cannabis use if it's prescribed for things other than cancer and glaucoma. But if the government wanted more moral authority, it wouldn't sue cigarette makers while making more off taxes than the makers earn per pack...

...The public isn't in the mood to legalize crack. But the public, now and then, realizes that there are some gray areas – all you need to do is hear a few hundred tales of cancer sufferers finally able to keep down a meal because they used medicinal marijuana, and you might believe that the Republic will not founder if we grant them this surcease.

That, however, will take a federal law.

And perhaps that's what it needs. Perhaps medical marijuana needs Food and Drug Administration approval – providing that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will let them test it on rabbits, that is.

It may not be conservative by some people's definition to let a sick person grow some pot in the backyard. But it does not seem particularly compassionate to forbid it.

I don't think there's anything unconservative about advocating a policy that allows sick people to smoke a weed that grows from the ground if a doctor says it will ease their pain, and to do it with minimal interference from the government. Democrats are already seizing it as a possible winning issue for them, and the GOP needs to have a coherent position that doesn't make them come off as the moralist scolds that mirror the left's stereotype of them. Lileks helps to spur the debate and hopefully help seize the issue. I carved his piece up pretty badly so go read it all.
(via RCP)

Posted by dan at June 11, 2005 1:09 AM