Editorial: Medical Marijuana Patients Shouldn't Have to Go to the Supreme Court Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Oakland Cannabis Buyers Co-op Case, State Medical Marijuana Laws Will Stand Regardless Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Oakland Cannabis Buyers Co-op Case, State Medical Marijuana Laws Will Stand Regardless 3/30/01

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This week's Supreme Court case probably won't settle the medical marijuana issue, legally, politically or otherwise. The co-ops claiming the right to distribute marijuana to doctor-certified medical patients probably won't get everything they want and deserve. The feds probably won't get everything they want either; nor, unfortunately, are they likely to get what some of us think they deserve.

Thousands of patients will continue to use medical marijuana -- some of them at greater cost and less safety than the clubs have provided -- some clubs will continue to operate, and the issue will continue to wind its tortured way through the vagaries of America's insane drug war politics.

Under a sane drug policy, patients wouldn't have to go to the Supreme Court to protest for the right to use medical marijuana. The right to use whatever substance a patient and doctor believe provides relief would simply go without saying.

In a sane country, a government that dared to incarcerate patients for their choice of medicine would be very strongly condemned by the vast majority of its populace. Those who advocated such a law would be ridiculed as brain-diseased extremists; those who enacted such a law would be recognized as cruel authoritarians. Those police officers who actually dared to arrest such patients, those who dared to lock them behind bars, those judges who would actually impose criminal sanctions on them, would be ostracized and booed out of their jobs.

Those would-be tyrants like Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), who blocked the District of Columbia from counting the results of the medical marijuana vote, and who uses his podium to vilify reformers who stand up for the rights of patients, would be widely recognized as the loathsome McCarthyites that they are.

If any law calls for contempt, even civil disobedience, it is this one. The medical prohibition of marijuana is wholly without merit or legitimacy. So is drug prohibition as a whole. But the criminalization of medical marijuana patients is, as the late Peter McWilliams orated to the Libertarian National Convention, an outrage within an outrage within an outrage: Marijuana Prohibition is even more extreme than prohibition of many other drugs, and Medical Marijuana Prohibition is even more extreme than that: the criminalization and incarceration of severely ill people for medical use of the least dangerous drug. Those patients and caregivers who brave the consequences of the drug laws in order to help those patients in need are the true patriots in this saga.

In a larger sense, they have the truer respect for law, for a policy of arresting and incarcerating patients for their choice of medicine violates natural laws of greater strength and importance than any law of any legislative body. Rather, it is the Congress itself that has forsaken lawful behavior and created systems of tyranny and oppression, under the thin guise of protecting public health and safety.

The Supreme Court probably won't stand up for these basic truths, at least not this year. But they are truths, and they are inevitable. History -- the ultimate judge -- will indeed be unkind to the drug warriors.

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Issue #179, 3/30/01 Editorial: Medical Marijuana Patients Shouldn't Have to Go to the Supreme Court | Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Oakland Cannabis Buyers Co-op Case, State Medical Marijuana Laws Will Stand Regardless | Interview: Alan Bock on Medical Marijuana in California | Eyes on the Prize: European Drug Reformers Call for Legalization, Target Global Prohibition Regime -- Brussels Confab Focuses on UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs | Mexico: Chihuahua Governor Adds Voice to Legalization Chorus, Extends Rhetorical Hand Across Border to Gov. Johnson | In California, the Medical Marijuana Struggle Grinds On | DEA Denies Marijuana Rescheduling Petition -- Petitioners Promise Appeal, Question Timing | Kampia vs. the Inquisition: House Republicans Rake Reformer Over the Coals | High School Drug Tests Barred Again, This Time in Oklahoma -- Divided US Circuit Court Decisions Herald Eventual Supreme Court Resolution | OpenTheCan.org: November Coalition Label Campaign | Kentucky Governor Signs Industrial Hemp Bill | Hemp and Medical Marijuana Initiatives Gear-Up in South Dakota, State Legislature is Hopeless | Calling All Spanish Speakers: Volunteers Needed to Proof "DRCNet en Español" | Harm Reduction Coalition's Latest Communication Now Available, Newsletter Provides Insights, Questions | The Reformer's Calendar | Errata
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