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February 16, 2012

What Opposition to "Legalization" Signifies, part 2

In the last entry, I mentioned a phenomenon that had followed close on the heels of the Raich decision in a case brought against the government by Medical marijuana advocates to test the applicability of the Interstate Commerce clause to marijuana grown within the state for medical purposes. The basic argument was that since the "marijuana" was grown and used within the same state, the IC clause (ironically the original legal excuse for a federal Controlled Substances Act) shouldn't apply. I thought the suit unwise; not for medical or legal reasons, but because it was politically risky. I simply could not see why a Supreme Court court that obviously had been stacked for the purpose of reversing Roe V. Wade would ever "legalize" marijuana out of personal distaste for the Commerce clause. I also knew of several dogmatic assertions of hostility toward illegal drug use and "addiction" by sitting justices and could not think of any who were at all sympathetic to the cause of marijuana legalization.

As it turned out, I was right; the Court somehow construed a World War Two wheat rationing case as justifying federal intrusion into medical use of marijuana in California. Their decision was immediately hailed by conservatives as proving that federal law "trumps" state law and within five weeks or so, four men being prosecuted in different California counties for medical marijuana violations were arrested and taken into custody on federal warrants on the same charges.

As it happened, I was then working closely with one of them, a Merced man I'd seen twice in Oakland for pot recommendations. He was also a grower who had been busted by local police some three or four months after his second visit to Oakland. He was out on bail and busy creating a local patient group that would conform as closely as possible to the legal guidelines then being created by California case law in compliance with the Mower decision.

To make a long story a bit shorter, I had just been deprived of my main venue in Oakland and was in need of a place to see patients. I'm not sure who contacted who first , but when we discovered that our needs were complimentary, I began traveling to Merced to interview patients. Through our frequent contact I became aware of his federal bust the day it happened. The ultimate results are summarized here, here. My interpretation of the sense of "justice" to be found within our federal system is stated here.

It has now been five years since Dustin disappeared into the federal gulag (He's since been transferred to a prison camp in Colorado). I wish I could say that my opinion of the feds has improved, but sadly it hasn't. In fact, a new federal crack-down on medical marijuana in California was announced recently.

For this observer, the mediocrity of current GOP presidential candidates, together with the religious fervor/cynicism (take your pick) of the federal "anti-drug" bureaucracy is frightening.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at February 16, 2012 05:18 AM