As long as I can remember states rights has been a battle call of the conservatives. That is- until it is something they are opposed to. 16 states and the distric of columbia have passed medical marijuana laws. More voter iniatives are likely in this election, including at least two to outright legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washinton state.
But during all of Bush’s tenure we saw heavy handed raids and enforcement- with the conservatives insisting federal law trumped state law. And then we have seen Obama promise to back off, only to have bush era conservatives in the various attorney generals offices, federal law enforcement, the IRS… launch their own attacks. You see- “States rights” only apply when it is a conservatives right…
Now I’ll admit- I am not a fan of states rights. Or I should say- I don’t think either the federal or the state by default has the ultimate right. States will too often follow their own narrow self interest, and in many cases, profit, regardless of it’s effect on the rest of the country, or even on a substantial portion of their own people. And the federal has had too much pratice at gaming the system, finding loopholes around what was originally intended for the federal branches.
But in the case of medical marijuana, the states are right. By and large these laws have all come as voter iniatives so far. Because the state legislatures have been unwilling. and largely unable due to the federal government, to do what the people want. Some of the latest polls on medical marijuana show over 80% support in the nation, with support for legalizing or decriminalizing all marijuana cracking 50% for the first time.
And despite the science being there, despite NIDA’s decades old strangehold on the supply of marijuana for legitimate research, the evidence from science in the US, Israel, Asia, and Europe all show the amazing potential of cannabis for treating various diseases, while at the same time debunking pretty much all of the claims of its harm. And indeed- this block on research has had the unintended consequence of leaving americans with only the plants flowers for medication. Sativex, an oral spray from GW Pharma is approved pretty much worldwide- but is still around two years from potential approval in the US. There is an increasing body of evidence of the vitally important role the cannabinoid receptors- CB1 & CB2 play in our health and well being, but NIDA has effectively blocked any real advancement in developing standardized cannabis based medicines to treat a wide array of diseases, including alzheimers.
Over 40 years ago thee “Nathional Council on Marihuana and Drug Abuse recommended it’s legalization. The evidence of its medical uses has existed for decades- and is growing rapidly despite the best efforts of NIDA. The people overwhelmingly want medical marijuana, and are increasingly supporting its recreational use.
Regardless- we need to stop this constant fighting over state VS federal rights. Weare, or are supposed to be , “The United states of america. And we should in our every decision, whether it is in our daily lives or our state and nations laws, be looking at the interests of the whole. And herein probably lies the problem- an unwillingness to make the hard choices. Much of what we take for granted today is because a few have seen the failure of current policies and morals, and had the courage to stand up for what is right, and not what is commonly believed or supported. Those people of the past- those we, at least now, proudly call leaders, are all to often absent these days.