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Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

The Right Stuff

A politics blog by Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson's baseball card - if he had one - would report he throws left, writes right. In his columns and blog, "The Right Stuff," southpaw Jackson provides insight into the evolving human condition from a distinctly conservative point of view.

Blowing smoke on medical pot

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Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford warned darkly the other day about the ulterior motives of those behind the push to make marijuana available for medicinal purposes. Calling the ballot measure’s wording “disingenuous,” he predicted if the measure becomes part of the Florida constitution, “We’ll have more places selling [pot] than we have Starbucks.”

The Right Stuff doesn’t know whether that’s completely accurate. Wouldn’t codifying the language of the initiative, if it comes to that, involve regulating the number and location of prescription pot dispensaries? Or would every corner pharmacy automatically qualify as a place to get hooked up? Either way, it’s also hard to imagine the current push is anything less than a stalking horse to get weed legalized for recreational use, as already happened in Colorado and Washington State.

Isn’t it obvious? Proponents advance almost mystical qualities on behalf of the relief cannabis delivers to people who suffer with pain, nausea, lack of appetite and seizures, but even if that’s true, medicine long ago was able to identify, isolate and replicate the active ingredients in marijuana. One component — THC, the high-inducing part of the plant — already is available by prescription. Another — cannabidiol — already legal outside the United States, is attracting a surge of support in state legislatures, including Florida’s.

What’s the point? The “medical” argument for marijuana is hogwash. No responsible scientific studies exist to demonstrate that inhaling the smoke of burning cannabis constitutes the optimum delivery system, but data indicating the same risks associated with smoking tobacco (cancer, emphysema, pneumonia, heart disease) attach to toking up.

Nope. Amending the state constitution to allow marijuana by prescription is all about setting the stage for outright legalization. And why not? Proponents are quick to make the “it’s-no-worse-than-alcohol” argument, but even if that’s true — it may not be — so what? Driving your car off a cliff is no worse than slamming a bridge abutment at highway speeds, but why would you encourage one just because the other happens?


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