Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More On Medicinal Marijuana

I just wanted to take a minute to expand on my comments last week about medicinal marijuana. I was not clear on my position last week, but allow me to be clear now. I am 100% in support of marijuana legalization (along with legalization of other drugs), but I am opposed to the current trend of state-by-state medicinal marijuana laws. I have several supporting reasons.

First, we currently have a system in which all possession of marijuana is illegal under federal law. As I wrote in my recently published paper, to allow state-by-state exemptions to a nationwide ban undermines the national law, making it much more difficult to enforce. And yes, I hate the idea of a nationwide ban in the first place, but allowing states to bypass federal law is just asking for chaos. And for better or for worse, a majority of the Supreme Court agrees with me.

Secondly, marijuana is a commodity for which the vast majority of demand that exists for it is not medical, but recreational in nature. Medicinal marijuana makes about as much sense as medicinal alcohol. Allowing marijuana for medicinal use only puts legitimate sellers at risk, potentially tempts legitimate sellers into acting illegally by testing the black market, and, as discussed above, makes law enforcement difficult. And remember, that the costs of difficult law enforcement are often paid by the innocent population.

I do support the use of marijuana for medical reasons, but the current political push, in my mind, is troublesome.


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