Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Medical Marijuana: Blame Congress, Not the DEA


We keep reading stories and opinion columns castigating the DEA for enforcing federal law prohibiting all consumption of marijuana--regardless of state laws permitting its medical use. This is a problem that needs addressing, alright, but not by the slight-of-hand trick of making law enforcement agencies pretend that long-standing federal law doesn't exist. That is a prescription for selective law enforcement based on politics, which is to open the door to all sorts of abuses.

Why does nobody address the real problem here? It isn't the DEA, it isn't the FBI, it is the wording of federal law! Specifically: When Congress passed the Federal Controlled Substances Act, it explicitly stated that marijuana has no legitimate uses. That inhibits research into the proper uses of marijuana as a palliative agent, prevents the FDA from allowing it to be prescribed, and forces the DEA's hand. Yet, despite this being the cause of all of the consternation, even medical marijuana boosters don't bring it up! Take for example, this column in the Missoulian byTom Daubert. He writes:
The nation's Drug Enforcement Administration agents can sleep a little easier tonight. They now have one less medical marijuana patient to worry about policing.

That's because Montana's leading medical marijuana patient-activist took her own life last week, a direct result of DEA actions earlier this year. As the sad news spreads, every patient in the state and all their relatives and friends grieve the loss of Robin Prosser.

It's time for our federal government to end its anti-scientific and brutal war--a war not on drugs, but on sick people like Prosser.
But that is misdirection. The real answer is to urge that Congress change the law! But even in this powerful indictment of the stifling of medical marijuana--the issue isn't addressed.

There is no logical reason why morphine--a truly addicting drug--can be used medically but marijuana--which is not addictive--cannot. Moreover, maintaining the law as is breeds disrespect for law and has opened the door to the anarchic procedures currently employed in the states to distribute medical cannabis.

Will any presidential candidate have the courage to make this an issue? Will the media? Or will we merely continue to gripe about those evil DEA agents who supposedly want people to suffer?


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