Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Medical marijuana: a policy ripe for the harvest

Jerry Stratton, October 24, 2009

I’ve refrained from commenting on this “new” medical marijuana policy from the Justice Department because we’ve been disappointed by the White House before on this, and this particular statement has enough weasel words to make a fur coat. I hope I’m wrong, but it looks like it’s mostly meant to provide cover for more prosecutions. All new prosecutions will easily fall under one or more of the “exceptions” listed by Justice1.

What’s most interesting to me is that most of the “conservative” blogs I’m following are supporting letting states go their way on medical marijuana, either for federalist reasons or on its own merits. Medical marijuana has come a long way. If Obama were smart, he’d get the Democrats to make these guidelines the law—before the Republicans start pushing for it. If the Republicans were smart, they’d make this issue their own before the Democrats do it themselves.

Medical marijuana is already supported by a majority of voters in some polls, and pretty close to it in others; those who don’t support it don’t care about it. And states’ rights on medical marijuana doesn’t change any policy other than medicine. It doesn’t change the drug war; doctors already prescribe drugs with far worse side effects than marijuana. Pushing states’ rights for medical marijuana won’t lose any votes, but seeing Republicans spearhead the bill will make some Democrats take a second look at their own candidates.2

In the year of health care, this is an easy win for whoever champions it. For a brief moment voters hoped they’d found a politician who would actually produce real change, and they’ve been disappointed that he’s just more of the same. Even his supporters know there’s not much hope that these weaselly guidelines will truly change policy, even assuming he doesn’t throw them under the bus later. This is an opportunity to take a stand and cut some of those voters away by showing what federalism can do for them.

  1. Between the last waffle and these guidelines, I’ve already seen some Obama supporters start turning against medical marijuana dispensaries here in California. Cognitive dissonance is a bitch, and these guidelines help them justify their new-found disdain for medical marijuana providers.

  2. Of course, what’s most likely to happen is that Democrats will try to load the bill with poison pills to kill it. Can you imagine that? Republicans trying to pass a federalist medical marijuana bill and Democrats poison it to death? There would be heads exploding on campuses up and down the coasts.

  1. <- Health care the Chicago way
  2. Voting is support ->