Monday, June 13, 2005

Medical Marijuana Hysteria

Cathy Young's article on the silliness of the recent Supreme Court ruling on medical marijuana is right on all fundamental points:

The ruling is bad legal reasoning; commentators such as Boston University law professor Randy Barnett, who argued the case before the Supreme Court last November, point out that it directly contradicts several of the court's decisions in recent years narrowing the scope of federal powers. It is also bad moral reasoning. Whether you use personal autonomy or compassion as your standard, denying seriously ill men and women access to a drug that could help them is repugnant.

Moreover, as Dr. Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in The New York Times, research on therapeutic uses of marijuana has been held back by ideologically motivated restrictions.

All this is the latest example of how the war on drugs has addled our brains. Yes, drug abuse is a serious problem. But the demonization of illegal drugs -- even mild ones such as marijuana, which tens of millions of Americans have indulged in with consequences no worse than for legal intoxicants -- has created a climate that is just as dangerous.

That there is a drug that easily might help people but no research is being done into the reaches of its medical efficacy because of the hysteria and the paranoia of the old drug war strikes me as foolish beyond belief. This, too, is another area in which I hope new thinking comes to prevail.

I hope they step up research on this in Britain where, IIRC, there have been recent proposals to change the law.

Previous post on this subject: Legalize It! Indeed!

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