Scott Tibbs
blog post
June 8th, 2005

Back to Archived blog posts.

Medical marijuana

A few more thoughts on the Supreme Court decision that state laws allowing medical marijuana do not make people immune from federal prosecution. The Libertarian Party denounced the decision in a press release.

First, let us review the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

After reading this, what exactly is difficult to understand about it? Where does the Constitution give the federal government power to regulate whether or not people are allowed to grow a plant that can ease symptoms of some diseases? I think the zeal that some have for the drug war has prevented them from allowing reasonable exceptions. The logic some use is that legalizing medical marijuana would lead the drug being abused.

I do not think that is a valid reason to oppose medical marijuana. Morphine is widely used as a painkiller, but overuse of the drug in the 1800's led to addictions and abuse. Oxycontin ("hillbilly heroin") is a significant black-market drug, but we are not going to outlaw it entirely.

I think we should think about whether or not marijuana should be illegal at all. We should also think about, if marijuana is going to be illegal, whether or not the federal level should be where that decision is made. I know this has been asked many times in many different places, but if a Constitutional amendment was required to criminalize alcohol, why was a constitutional amendment not required to criminalize marijuana? If anyone can explain this, feel free to do so.

On a more philosophical level, does the federal government have any business telling adults what they can and cannot put into their bodies? Are state governments incompetent to handle it on their own? While marijuana (while it can ease symptoms of some diseases) is not healthy, it is not healthy to get drunk either. For that matter, Oreo cookies are bad for you too. Should we ban them? How far does the Nanny State need to extend?

I would rather no one smoke marijuana. As a Christian, I believe we are to be good stewards of our bodies, and smoking marijuana is not good stewardship. I do not think, however, that I have the right to tell people what substances they can consume so long as they are not harming anyone else.