Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Alabama Libertarians back medical marijuana bill

The issue of medical marijuana raises the age-old dilemma of what to do, go for improvements for some people in the immediate future, or hold out for freedom for everybody in a more distant future? Alabama Vice Chairman of the LP, Stephen Gordon, says:
“The vast majority of people are recognizing that this is a medical issue, a compassion issue, not a marijuana legalization issue.”
Why not? I believe profoundly in the compassionate nature of man, but Gordon vice chairs the Libertarian Party, not the Compassionate Party. Why isn’t he coming down on the side of liberty for everybody?

Also interesting is the quote about a presumably ill woman.

“Using even the legal, pharmaceutical version of marijuana, Marinol, makes Campbell violently nauseous. Marijuana is the only drug that allows her to simultaneously fight nausea and pain -- so her husband buys Campbell's medicine from drug dealers on the street.”
I wonder whether state sponsored weed in Alabama will fall on its face like it did in the Netherlands, where the government tried to salvage the project by hiring professors who claim that (semi-)illegally sold marijuana is infested with germs and molds.


At 11:43 AM, Blogger Nicolas Martin said...

This is one of the issues that reveals how valuable Thomas Szasz has been as a beacon of principle. With noteworthy exceptions, libertarianism is riddled with pragmatic sell-outs. Prominent libertarian think tanks -- Cato, Reason -- have become the efficiency experts for the welfare state. They support a little privatization here, some tax reform, fee-based landing slots at airports, and a litany of other statist fiddles. They are absent from many of today's key battles for liberty.

The reforms fit well with another libertarian intellectual favorite: techno-fetishism. Many members of the libertarian elite justify their positions, and gain prominence, by serving as expert technocrats. At the moment Szasz's "Faith in Freedom" was first available for sale, Cato was selling no fewer than four books advocating reform of the U. S. Postal Service. Has Cato ever published a book on the evils of psychiatry or the therapeutic state? Which libertarian think tanks have?

What libertarianism has become for many intellectuals is a philosophy with the morality trimmed away. The New York Times does not write glowingly of libertarians who are moralists first. It isn't the moralizing that gets the guest slots on C-Span and other yap shows. Amoral libertarianism is comfortably associated with the promotion of mandatory health insurance, a la Reason, and a host of other collectivisms. Serfdom is a whole lot better if the road to it is privately owned and paved.

Does "medical marijuana" bring us one step closer to liberty? Only if you believe that the prescription drug laws do, and the physician-state control of medical morphine and medical oxycontin. Even the pragmatic justification for "medical marijuana," that it will reduce suffering, is a joke. We can see how well suffering is ameliorated in the age of pain control conferences. The predictable result of medicalizing marijuana will be to increase the number of physicians who lose their licenses and serve time for "over-prescribing." (We can only hope that the prison facilities will be privately run.)

One of the striking things about Tom Szasz's opposiiton to "medical marijuana" and ALL drug laws (for adults), is how little support his position has among libertarians. Because they don't grasp the threat from and oppose the encroachments (more like strangulations) of the therapeutic state, they cannot see the incremental harm of giving physicians yet another duty in their service to the state.

At 6:15 AM, Blogger Sheldon Richman said...

To pick up on a point that Nicolas makes toward the end of his comment, medical marijuana would most likely be accompanied by an intensified crackdown on the street-pot trade. The authorities will feel pressed to do this in order to show that medical marijuana is not a step toward general decriminalization. Thus marijuana by prescription will bring greater oppression of suspect doctors and "unauthorized" users. Some progress toward liberty.

At 5:21 AM, Blogger Mira de Vries said...

The more articles appear, the more obvious it becomes that the struggle is not for the health of the individual citizen, but for control of the cannabis market. See also:
http://www.incirculation.net/index.asp?did=18471&aid=48442Cannabis ingredient limits atherosclerosis


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