Pubdate: Sat, 22 Aug 2009
Source: Bakersfield Californian, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Bakersfield Californian
Author: Ric Llewellyn
Note: Ric Llewellyn is one of four conservative community columnists 
whose work appears here every Saturday. These are the opinions of 
Llewellyn, not necessarily The Californian's.
Bookmark: (Opinion)


I don't have a problem with sick people having access to cannabinoid 
drugs; I have a problem with legalizing marijuana. Pot is not 
medicine and tagging it "medicinal" is a ruse to obscure a new surge 
toward comprehensive legalization.

First, let's stipulate what's already on the table. Basically, 
advocates say pot doesn't hurt you or society. Opponents say it does. 
No matter how many reports the advocates or opponents cite, there are 
plenty of contradictory findings. While the studies are inconclusive, 
the advantage goes to the opponents. That's why marijuana is still 
illegal and there is still a controversy after 40 years of study and debate.

In 1972 we put the "California Marijuana Initiative" on the ballot 
and it failed. The people of the state were asked, "Do you want to 
legalize pot?" The answer was "No."

In 1996 we approved the "Compassionate Use Act," once again through 
the initiative process. This time the people of the state were asked, 
"Do you think sick people should be able to use marijuana to feel 
better?" Who doesn't consider himself to be a compassionate human 
being? Our empathy led to an inescapable result in the vote: yes (I am caring).

We unwittingly thought "medical marijuana" was a real medicine, like 
something you would take for blood pressure, cholesterol or asthma. 
But it's still just pot, and the "Compassionate Use Act" turned out 
to be something quite different.

In summary, Proposition 215 said anyone with any illness or condition 
or even symptom for which marijuana provides relief may obtain and 
use marijuana without legal penalty. The only condition is that a 
physician provides a documented recommendation. Sounds more like the 
"Convenient Use Act."

Chronic pain, migraine, PMS, depression and many more issues for 
which getting high would make one feel better are acceptably 
convenient uses. Apparently there are compassionate doctors in the 
state who would, for their patients' well being, recommend a little 
weed. In fact, Jeff Clark, president of the Upper Kern County chapter 
of NORML (wow man, somebody was loaded when they came up with that 
acronym), estimated there are 30,000 "medical marijuana" users in Kern County!

Applying the term "medical" to pot is like claiming medicinal status 
for White Willow bark, except marijuana is an illegal Schedule I 
hallucinogen. A doctor's recommendation is not a prescription because 
marijuana is not medicine. It is nothing like picking up your 
lovastatin at the pharmacy. It is merely a note qualifying you for 
exemption from prosecution for possessing and/or using an illegal 
folk remedy ... because we are compassionate, of course.

According to the Food and Drug Administration smoking or ingesting 
pot "has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United 
States and is not an approved medical treatment." And no one is 
running trials to get the FDA's imprimatur.

An Institute of Medicine report states that smoked marijuana is a 
crude drug delivery system that exposes patients to a significant 
number of harmful substances and "if there is any future of marijuana 
as a medicine, it lies in its isolated components ...."

Here's the kicker, THC, one of the active chemicals in pot, has been 
shown to be effective in the relief of nausea, but not the myriad 
symptoms, conditions and syndromes for which adherents claim relief. 
Let's face it. It's the smoking, not the THC, that is at issue here. 
This whole charade is a subterfuge for comprehensive legalization, 
not just "compassionate use."

Now some opportunistic and mercenary advocates are rising up among 
California's politicians. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, 
sees pot as a goldmine of tax revenue and has proposed a bill to 
legalize recreational use. Even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks 
it's time to look at legalizing marijuana, especially for the fiscal benefits.

It is hard for me to imagine our leaders are so shortsighted and 
unprincipled. And yet we hear them say that a billion dollars a year 
in tax revenue awaits -- for First Five, senior medical care and 
support for homeless families.

Are you as revolted as I am by their artless attempt to seduce our 
support for something so unwholesome? What if we were to fold under 
the pressure? California would still have a budget shortfall of tens 
of billions of dollars. We would have implemented a virtually 
irrevocable social policy as an impotent response to a temporary 
economic problem. And our leaders would still need to find two-dozen 
more vices to legalize, regulate and tax to close the budget gap!

So-called medical marijuana is a con. Smokers just want to smoke. We 
were duped into taking a step toward legalization based on our 
inherent humanitarianism. Political leaders are pressuring us to go 
farther with dollar signs twinkling in their eyes. We need to push 
back. We need to say no! 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake