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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Going from pot

I’ve purchased marijuana exactly one time in my life. It was some years ago (note to law enforcement officials: the statute of limitations applies) that a friend of mine, who I knew to be fairly staunchly opposed to ever smoking pot himself, asked me if I knew where to buy some. His uncle had glaucoma, and the scientific research of the time suggested that marijuana could relieve the uncle’s extreme discomfort. He also had some other ailments, and the nephew had hoped that the pot would stir his meager appetite.
So I asked the one person I knew would likely know where to find some marijuana. He sold it to me, I passed it on to my friend (at the same price), and I heard later that the uncle did seem to respond well to the "treatment."

The interesting thing about Supreme Court rulings (well, interesting to a political science major, which I was) is that their rulings are not phrased as about the issue that gets played in the press ("Court Knocks Pot") but about more arcane matters. So, in the case decided by the Court on Monday, it’s not so much about medical marijuana, it’s a states’ rights issue, whether Congress had exceeded its authority vis a vis the states regarding medical marijuana.

The old poli sci major finds the federal government’s argument to be strong: state law is generally subservient to federal law, "even as applied to the troubling facts of this case," as Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, put it. But I find the position stated in Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s dissenting opinion that a state has a right to take care of its citizens even more compelling. If you’ve seen the videos of Angel McClary Raich before treatment, when she could barely move, and after treatment, when she appeared as a normally functioning person, you’d find her, at bare minimum, a sympathetic respondent. And I do believe there is sufficient science to suggest that there are real medical benefits of marijuana.

Which begs the question: if I had it to do over again, would I purchase marijuana for someone in medical need? Let’s put it this way: Montel Williams indicated that he’ll still be using marijuana for his multiple sclerosis, but knows that by saying so, he makes himself a target for prosecution. I wouldn’t SAY that I’d buy it, but...

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