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07 June 2005

Medical Marijuana - Serious National Threat

The Supreme Court has given the Federal Government the green light to prosecute seriously ill people who smoke marijuana. The court simply reasoned that it is a legitimate Federal power, and suggested that getting Congress to change the law would be the way to go. Fat chance.
Americans (and we're not alone in this - Europeans aren't much better) have a bizarre habit of approving laws that they themselves may break, their children may break or other friends and family may break. So basically, the American people are asking the government to throw themselves or other loved ones in jail.
But of course they don't expect that to happen. Most people believe that by making something illegal only other people will be arrested, not their own friends and kin. Local officials, who know the "good" citizens from the bad, are well equipped to play this charade - arresting the marginal characters and minorities while treating the more mainstream perpetrators with deference. But the Feds don't operate this way - as far as federal agents are concerned, a terminally ill patient puffing on a joint is equivalent to a Medellin drug lord. The only thing holding them back is a lack of resources to target anyone not involved in dealing.
What Americans really want out of drug laws is the continued mass imprisonment of criminally-oriented blacks and Hispanics. Drugs give the criminal justice system an easy way to throw hundreds of thousands of young minority men into jail for extended periods of time. This makes people feel safe - but it's a rather crude way to enforce justice, since drug involvement is essentially being used as a proxy for real crimes.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the justices are doing is safeguarding law enforcement jobs. God forbid we loosen up some archaic drug laws which would take a few thousand people off of the payroll of the DEA and other drug enforcement agencies.

June 09, 2005 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

I was, frankly, shocked by the decision here. There are countless numbers of drugs that are illegal for recreational use but are allowed under a physician's order. It's always a problem when I drop a Darvacet or Zantac with a scrip (just kidding). Why is pot different (I'm confident Ziel can explain)? I just returned from the UK where the medicinal use of pot without prescription (I think mostly to make the awful food palitable)doesn't seem to be an issue. I was in several public places (not rock concerts) where joints were openly rolled and smoked (much to my delight, they don't mind sharing with Yanks). The volume of problems facing this country that supercede the legalization of pot, beyond medical use, makes it seem like the Supreme Court has decided to take the route of Congress to deal with the relatively small issues vs the big ones. If you look at the "big" picture, if we legalized pot, we could also solve our immigration problem as we'd develop a "pothead' work force of ready, willing and, probably, able to do those menial jobs that have long been shunned by us prideful Americans, a long "need" cited for imported labor.

June 10, 2005 7:48 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

But it's not the SCOTUS's job to worry about which issues are big - it's just to give an opinion as to what the law is. While, as usual Justice Thomas hit the nail on the head in his dissent, the others simply felt that outlawing marijuana, even if wholly grown and consumed within a state, is something Congress has the right to do. The sad thing is their seems to be absolutely no political mechanism to fix this.

June 12, 2005 9:18 PM  

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