Pubdate: Sat, 16 Jul 2011
Source: Gazette, The (Colorado Springs, CO)
Copyright: 2011 The Gazette
Author: Wayne Laugesen, For the editorial board



Once again, government servants have told Americans that marijuana
ranks right up there with heroin. The Drug Enforcement Agency ruled
last Friday that marijuana has "no accepted medical use" and will
continue as a schedule 1 drug - the most forbidden category.

The DEA is a law enforcement bureaucracy. The medical opinions of law
enforcement bureaucrats should be of little interest. We do not ask
cops to make laws; we pay cops to enforce the laws established by
constitutions or enacted by the people or the decisions of their

Furthermore, what drug a person takes for an illness should be between
that person and his or her physician. Drug laws - like laws that
regulate rape, murder, arson, property crimes and almost all criminal
matters - should be the purview of states. That's a right wing,
conservative Republican view of the world that is shared by the
left-leaning Obama administration regarding the regulation of medical
marijuana. Nothing in the Constitution grants the federal government,
let alone a lone bureaucracy such as the DEA, to regulate drugs.
Efforts by the federal government to regulate alcohol failed
miserably, just as the efforts to regulate drugs have empowered
black-market criminals. The war on drugs is a deadly and expensive
political indulgence of the past that our country can no longer afford.

The agency's statement came in response to a 2002 petition by
supporters of medical marijuana who want the drug reclassified. The
ruling means, in the view of the federal bureaucrats, that even a
terminal cancer patient cannot use marijuana to control severe pain
even if it is the best course of treatment as recommended by the
patient's physician. The DEA would prefer the patient go on other
drugs - something created and sold by pharmaceuticals. Most
prescription-strength pain relievers, unlike marijuana, are liver
toxins that have the ability to kill upon overdose. Most, unlike
marijuana, are so physically addictive that withdrawal can be deadly.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin, kill more than
7,000 Americans each year who either overdose intentionally or by
accident. Tobacco has killed an average of 430,700 Americans each
year, based on research from the Centers for Disease Control. Alcohol
has killed more than 110,000 Americans each! year. Adverse reactions
to prescription drugs have killed more than 32,000 Americans each year.

Marijuana, a drug that should not be used for recreation, has been the
direct cause of this many deaths each year: Zero. We are able to buy
aspirin - a pharmaceutical that can kill. But the government says no
to marijuana - a drug that quite likely has the safest track record of
any drug in history - even if a physician says it is what we need.
This is the type of insanity that led President Ronald Reagan to say:
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from
the government and I'm here to help.'"

The Gazette is against bad things. We oppose recreational use of
marijuana, unless legalized in our state. We oppose rape, murder,
violent crimes and crimes motivated by hate.

Though we oppose forest fires, we stand behind Sheriff Terry Maketa
and other law enforcement officials who take great care in issuing
burn bans. As Maketa explained this year, it is important to never
warn against extreme fire danger when there is not genuine danger.
That's because people will condition themselves to discard fire
warnings if they appear exaggerated by authorities.

The ongoing schedule 1 classification of marijuana - as a drug akin to
heroin - is an obvious indulgence of bureaucratic exaggeration. It
seems clear that DEA officials want to demonize marijuana because it
guarantees the DEA's ongoing funding and growth. This ruling does
nothing to harm the reputation of medical marijuana, and everything to
diminish the reputation of the DEA. We must demand that government
employees stop lying to the Americans they are paid to serve with
integrity and truth. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.