Pubdate: Wed, 16 May 2001
Source: Columbia Daily Tribune (MO)
Copyright: 2001 Columbia Daily Tribune
Author: Henry J. Waters III
Note: Henry J. Waters III, Publisher, Columbia Daily Tribune


Just The Tip Of The Problem

Our official position on narcotic drugs is schizophrenic. Even worse, it's 
foolish and counterproductive.

We could forgive ourselves a medical impairment in thinking, but why do we 
continue trying to enforce idiotic laws on drugs that show just plain 

The other day, the U.S. Supreme Court made a proper decision upholding 
lower court findings against use of marijuana for medical purposes. 
Numerous tests and lots of experience affirm the drug can be helpful in 
treating symptoms of several diseases. Doctors are prescribing it, and 
patients benefit without associated harm. A number of states have passed 
laws allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes.

But courts have found no exception for medical uses in the federal 
Controlled Substances Act, which outlaws marijuana.

Clearly, the proper solution here is to fix the basic law. At the very 
least, marijuana should be legalized for emmedical uses, but even with that 
an eternal debate would continue to define "medical use." Obviously, the 
sensible solution is simply to legalize marijuana, putting the law in sync 
with popular practice.

Americans smoke marijuana by the ton. The very existence of a law 
prohibiting its use is ridiculous. Worse, it spawns criminal activity even 
worse than illegal smoking. All the laws accomplish is a lot of busywork 
for law enforcement agents and a fair amount of crime committed by people 
who want money to buy marijuana at black-market prices. How many billions 
have we spent on the war against marijuana? Ridiculous.

If left to the private marketplace, marijuana would be cheaper than 
tobacco. It could be more easily taxed than tobacco products, and no 
black-market crime would be committed.

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling, members of Congress say 
they might take up the issue this year. If so, surely they will do more 
than merely approve medical uses of marijuana. Our society is harmed, not 
helped, by current drug laws.
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