Monday, April 6, 2009

The Ultimate States' Rights Issue?

Michigan’s first applicant to receive legal medicinal marijuana has been documented. This is one more test of states' rights, and President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder have already promised that the feds would no longer harass and prosecute those who administer medicinal pot under state law. I think it’s safe to say this is a politician’s promise. Just a week after the vow was made, DEA agents popped a dispensary in California, and I expect this will continue, as Obama made the gesture to appear youthful and above the issue. And he sure doesn't want to look at it in terms of state's rights. If he were to give it that form of merit, what would that mean for gay marriage, gun laws, and abortion?
The issue is an important one in the role of states' rights. One on side of the fence, we have conservatives who feel the medicinal provision is a “nose under the tent” and they have a point, when you see who the supporters of medicinal pot are: NORML, MPP,and other stoner groups are always at the front of the push for medicinal. If state’s rights is so important, though, to many conservatives, why would this not be a classic case of letting the voter’s speak? Liberals are often remarkably silent when it comes to the issue, leaving the Libertarians to advocate next to the red-eyed.
I fall on the state’s rights side. It is folly to ignore the will of the voters and it could be leveraged in an overall debate on just where the federal reach of the law ends. I think it ends when voters of a state say it ends.
I am reminded of a fellow I met in Las Vegas in 2003 in the course of working on a story for the Washington Times not all that long ago.
In researching the story, I met a fellow named Pierre Werner, a committed pot head, entrepreneur and a true eccentric. I connected with him on the phone when I first arrived in town, and a day later, I drove to a shady North Las Vegas neighborhood and loudly rattled the cage that encased the entry to a cinderblock home. That was how I was told to knock. And out walked Pierre. We chatted for a while and I must have convinced him I was not the law, because within 15 minutes, I was walking into a grow room with enormous plants. Over the next few days, Pierre and I had lunch at a local country club at which he was a member and we went to a Las Vegas 51s baseball game. I wrote a side bar on Pierre for that story, which is now being used by a drug rehab center for some reason. One of the best things about being a journalist is that you have the chance to hang out with these interesting characters and get to know how they work. I just noted this story on his release from prison. You guessed it: His law enforcement radar failed him. Musta been that last fattie.
The application to become a medicinal pot patient in Michigan is remarkably simple. And this is where the weed jokes end...
Medical Pot Application

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