Human Exceptionalism

“Medical Marijuana” Political Follies

The House of Representatives has voted down an amendment that would have prohibited the DEA from enforcing federal drug laws against medical marijuana participants in states where cannabis as medicine is legal. And the bill only got two more votes than the last time the House considered it before the recent Democratic takeover. What a dumb approach, so typical of our gutless politicians!

The reason why marijuana can’t be used as medicine under federal law is simple: The Controlled Substances Act states explicitly that marijuana has no medical uses. That is the law. It is wrong. And it chills efforts to study marijuana’s potential medicinal uses–which definitely need to be studied.

So instead, we have the surrealistic state systems in which doctors write letters instead of prescriptions, and patients go to “pot clubs” instead of pharmacies to obtain their “medicine.” This kind of chaotic distribution leads to crime, people getting pot for “stress,” and etc. And it breeds disrespect for crucial distinctions between using drugs for medicinal and recreational purposes.

What needs to be done is change the federal law, conduct studies to determine what conditions for which marijuana has and does not have medicinal benefits, and allow formal prescriptions for cannabis distributed through pharmacies to treat those afflictions against which cannabis has a medicinal benefit. And not permit prescriptions for ailments in which it doesn’t.

Unfortunately, the government doesn’t have that kind of wisdom. And some supporters of medical marijuana aren’t interested in that approach either, apparently, because their cause too often seems to be about legalizing pot, not helping people who are sick.

This leads to the nonsense we have now of at least three different approaches toward medical marijuana in the country: The federal government’s strict prohibition, most states’ strict prohibition, and some states’ permissiveness with few effective regulatory controls. This ridiculousness has to change–and that starts with removing marijuana from the category of no medical benefits in the Controlled Substances Act–which should be done as a matter of integrity, in any event, because it clearly isn’t true.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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