NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

October 11, 2012

Anderson: Taking stock of the ballot questions

(Continued)

Easy stuff out of the way, on to Question 3, “Medical use of marijuana.” You might think that the same principle of self-empowerment that drives Question 2 would apply here: my body, my choice to use marijuana. If the issue was this straightforward, I’d easily vote yes. I have no desire to use marijuana or any other drug that messes in any way with my mind, unless there’s a medical condition that is already interfering with my enjoyment of said mind and life. So if everyone was like me, there’d be no reason to forbid marijuana prescriptions, just as now there’s no reason to forbid prescribing OxyContin or morphine to relieve pain.

Wait! I seem to recall that a few years ago, Congressman Stephen Lynch wanted to make OxyContin illegal for everyone because kids in his district were abusing it. I thought this was crazy: Make sick people endure their pain because some idiots are abusing the drugs that relieve it?

This argument is similar to the argument against casinos: Some people are weak and will become addicted gamblers; so people who just enjoy occasional gaming shouldn’t be allowed to? Prohibition also catered to potential addicts, trying to forbid something normally pleasant that some will abuse.

Marijuana has been proven to help people suffering from some terrible illnesses and difficult treatments. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be prescribed by our doctors if they think it will help us. We can just take the prescription to our local pharmacy, along with our blood pressure and cholesterol prescriptions, and get it filled.

Wait! Question 3 creates 35 state distribution centers for marijuana prescriptions centers, as well as letting people grow it at home. We can’t take the prescription to our local pharmacy because even if Massachusetts made medical marijuana legal, the federal government still considers it illegal and this interferes with our pharmacies carrying it.

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