Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Supreme Court Rules Against Sick People

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled yesterday that federal law trumps the wishes of individual states on medicinal marijuana and declared that sick people using the drug for pain and nausea relief could be prosecuted.

Californian Angel Raich, one of the subjects of the case, suffers from scoliosis, a brain tumor, cancer and chronic nausea and began using marijuana after her pain was not eased by many other drugs.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. I don't really have a choice but to, because if I stop using cannabis, I would die," said Raich

This doesn't appear to have been a decision that went along politically ideological lines on the Court. Just the same, it shows that our country is moving farther away from compassion toward those who are suffering and closer to an America much harder to feel good about.

Having served overseas in the U.S. Navy, I can tell you without hesitation that it was never the stoned guys who were getting in horrible fights, committing crimes and assaulting women – it was the drunk guys.

I have learned to accept that it is going to take our country a long time to get its head on straight when it comes to the overblown downsides that many associate with marijuana. We could at least suspend the arguments about the effects of social use long enough to have true compassion for people who are gravely ill and for whom marijuana is their only hope for relief.

Meanwhile, I'm sure at least half the Supreme Court judges who voted to eliminate marijuana for sick people will go home tonight and knock back a few stiff scotches to sooth their nerves after a rough day.