A recent interview with deputy drug czar Scott Burns by the Arcata Eye, a Northern California newspaper, provides some insight into the quality of thought underlying the war on drugs. Asked about "chemotherapy patients who would tell you that [marijuana] is the only thing that suppresses their nausea and gives them an appetite," Burns says:
Anybody can say something makes me feel better anecdotally. And I hear that a lot. "Marijuana is the only thing that makes me feel good." I say you should try crack, because from what I hear, crack cocaine will make you feel really good as well.
Bear in mind that Burns is not talking about people who get doctor's recommendations to take marijuana for something vague and hard to verify like "anxiety and depression." He is talking about cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and it's indisputable that marijuana helps relieve their nausea and restore their appetites. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of THC, marijuana's main active ingredient, for that very purpose, based on controlled, double-blind clinical trials. There are various reasons why some patients prefer smoked (or vaporized) marijuana to the FDA-approved capsules containing synthetic THC, including easier absorption and better control over dosage, and most drug warriors would say those reasons are not strong enough to justify allowing the medical use of marijuana. But to suggest there's no scientific evidence that marijuana is an effective anti-emetic you'd have to be utterly uninformed, egregiously dishonest, or just plain stupid.
I'm not sure which category Burns falls into, but the rest of the interview provides further evidence on that score. Asked how the American tradition of "freedom and self-determination" can be reconciled with "the government telling us what we can ingest and what we can't," Burns says:
On some issues that affect all of us for the good of the order we have to come to some consensus. And not everybody's happy, are they? And every time we don't get to do what we want... I know there are states where they really really like to marry young girls, 12, 11, or 10, and they would argue to you, "How dare the federal government preclude us from engaging in certain activities?" Well, in some instances we just say your, quote, "constitutional rights" and your freedom to do certain things gets trumped by the rest of us who say, "You know that's just not a good idea."
In short, pot smokers should be treated like child rapists. For the good of the order.
[via Paul Armentano at NORML]