I was listening to Erick on the way home today and as usual, he began the show with his normal disclaimer:” I know I'm probably going to make some of you angry....”.
The topic being discussed was Medical Marijuana legalization in the state of Georgia. Now, I need to provide my own disclaimer. I almost always agree with Erick. We generally use different lines of reasoning, but more often than not we arrive at the same conclusion. This topic, however, I wanted to open up for debate.
The case for legalization of Medical Marijuana is utilizing an “appeal to emotion” tactic. The sad case of an epilepsy afflicted 4 year old is being pushed to the forefront as a justification for legalization. This little girl suffers an average of 70 seizures per day and some evidence suggests that marijuana can ease the symptoms.
I agree with Erick that Medical Marijuana should not be legalized because a single suffering person tugs at our heart-strings, even if it's really sad. That's a plain appeal to emotion and it uses the suffering of the person as currency to purchase something that isn't really for that single individual, but rather is designed to push a whole different agenda.
That's a sound refutation of why we don't create laws because of exceptional circumstances. Now, here is the other side to the coin:
1.> The legalization of Medical Marijuana would not be for everyone. The only people who would get access to it are those who meet the “exception”. A doctor has to prescribe the drug for therapy, which means, if someone is using it for recreation...then they are breaking the law by the same measure as what currently stands. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The same pot-heads that are currently abusing the drug will still be in violation if they abuse it by making fraudulent claims with their healthcare provider.
Essentially, the criminals stay criminal. So, we're shifting the crime from one domain into another, which results in sick people receiving a measure of relief and criminals receiving the same (if not more severe) charges as before.
2.> Anything that's good can be abused. If we make everything illegal that's intended for responsible, good use, then we would forfeit our quality of life. Consider, in the same domain as Medical Marijuana, is medical Cocaine. AHA! I bet you didn't know that the same plant that is refined into Cocaine is also used to create anesthetics and painkillers. Novocaine, Lidocaine, Benzocaine and Prilocaine are all in the same drug class as Cocaine.
These drugs are incredibly useful for pain management therapy, but they are also very addictive and have a potential to be abused for recreation. Medical Marijuana, when compared to Cocaine is quite benign but just as effective in it's proposed therapies.
Just because it CAN be abused, doesn't mean it should be made illegal. If our history fighting terrorism has taught us anything, it's that good things can be abused very easily. Airplanes, Pressure Cookers, Cell-phones, guns....all can be abused. Heck, dialing 911 is abused like crazy. People call for the dumbest reasons, but we don't take 911 services away from people, we punish it's abuse.
3.> Pop-culture marijuana use heavily favors smoke-ready marijuana. There is an entire industry that engineers new, inventive ways to smoke the plant. Gas-mask bongs, pipes camouflaged as dry-erase markers, hookas that glow in the dark....you name it, they'll smoke out of it.
Prescription marijuana, if limited to ingested pill form, would not be abused on the scale that everyone fears. It doesn't appeal to the culture, and it's a hassle to acquire.
The end-game for pot-heads is not medical use. That's just an excuse they use to win favor. It's a marketing tool. The end game is Colorado. What you see there is radically different from what the parents of the 4 year old are asking for. They're not asking for Colorado. They're asking to see a doctor, to see if their child might qualify for a specific medical therapy to increase their child's quality of life.
That's my perspective.