Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tuesday, November 30

I just don't get it, Bush. I mean, this marijuana thing is totally beyond me. Why would your Ashcroft, presumably a busy man even in these post-resignation days, persist in persecuting a poor, sick, suffering woman in California who, with the approval of a vast majority of voters in her state, grows a few cannabis plants at home to use for medicinal purposes, with the guidance of a licensed physician, to alleviate her suffering? As I hear it, he sent in a couple of his federal goons to drag her off to jail--a fate from which she was saved, temporarily, it seems, in a stand-off between the feds and the California cops. Imagine the scene, Bush! Hard to decide between farce and tragedy.

I mean, come on… What's the great principle to be defended here, that your Ashcroft needs to pursue all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States? The spectacle of those nine robed sages debating the right of one lonely woman in a distant state to grow a few pathetic herbs for her own consumption is nothing less than mind-boggling.

Okay, I can get my mind around the idea that pharmaceutical drugs need to be tested before they're marketed to the public. (See Vioxx, of course--which your FDA continued stubbornly to approve despite dire warnings from the scientific community, beyond even the point where the producers' conscience forced them to withdraw it from the market. Another small irony here, Bush? The multi-zillion drug company gets a more than free pass, whilst a poor little sick lady in California brings down the wrath of the federal government on her? But that's another story.) And yet there are plenty of "medicinal" herbs out there being marketed and self-prescribed, without the benefit of medical advice, without arousing your Ashcroft's vengeful ire. And marijuana, as I understand it, has been used for centuries without dire results as a natural palliative for pain.

So what is it about Mary Jane? Are we still in "Reefer Madness" days? Does ignorance and prejudice trump the experienced judgment of scientists and physicians? And what is it with those meddling "friends of the court" who rush in to gang up with Ashcroft on our poor heroine (sorry, no pun intended)? I heard a woman on NPR (apologies again, for invoking this scurrilous left-wing media outlet) representing a whole organization of busy-bodies out to defend their fellow-citizens from the evils of cannabis. She had lists of facts and figures as long as your arm and spoke at least in the tones of a rational human being. But what kind of self-righteousness, Bush, allows her the presumption to seek in this way to impose her antediluvian views on the vast majority of California voters? I ask you, what business is it of hers what this ailing woman does in the privacy of her home?

So doesn't your Ashcroft have anything better to do with his time? I realize that this is the old parking meter argument, but really… Aren't there a ton of white-collar corporate malfeasants out there, stiffing the public for zillions of dollars? And what about the real illegal drug market, with its sleazy dealers profiteering in the mean streets? My God, Bush, surely your Ashcroft's feds have something more sensible to do than hound the sick and suffering? Isn't there something just a little off-key in this story?

Enough. I'm out of time. I'm catching a plane in a couple of hours to attend the memorial for my friend Sam.


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