Medical Marijuana in Vermont

|

The Marijuana Policy Project reports that Vermont will soon be the ninth state to allow medical use of marijuana. The state legislature recently passed a bill that would allow patients with AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis to possess or grow cannabis, and yesterday Republican Gov. James Douglas announced that he will allow the bill to become law without his signature. The statement he issued is a study in pusillanimous waffling:

Marijuana is addictive, and dangerous, and as a gateway drug can ruin a young Vermonter's life. Over the last several months, the faces of Vermonters in real pain have advocated for the use of marijuana for symptom relief. They are the husbands and wives who nursed dying spouses in their final days; they are sons and daughters who watched once-healthy parents wither and waste away. I feel, as most Vermonters do, that we must do what we can to ease the pain of dying Vermonters. I believe that we owe Vermonters with debilitating medical conditions the very best that medical science has to offer. Proven science has not demonstrated that marijuana is a part of that. Despite that fact, marijuana offers those with the most painful chronic diseases a measure of hope in a time of suffering….However, I cannot actively support a measure that allows Vermonters to be subject to prosecution under federal law, increases the availability of a controlled substance, and sends a dangerous message to our children.

By his own account, Douglas is allowing enactment of a law he thinks is bad policy so that sick people can have false hope. That way he won't be accused of standing between patients and the drug that relieves their suffering. At the same time, he's not actually signing the bill, so he retains his credentials as a tough drug warrior.

Advertisement

NEXT: Bush Medicare Propaganda Illegal

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. MPP rules — outside of the LP or IJ, whens the last time a libertarian group like RPPI or Cato did anything that actually influenced policy in any noticable direction? Ages, if ever. Because some libertarian academics fear the spectre of…becoming a c(4) and, gasp actually taking action rather than writing pretty articles (which I enjoy).

  2. Marijuana is addictive, and dangerous, and as a gateway drug can ruin a young Vermonter’s life.
    Fucking eh, it should be considered an act of fraud when a politician makes patently false statements like that, or this, “We know for certain that Iraq is stockpiling WMD”.

    SPUR,
    Writing articles and policy papers is what think tanks do. I’m not sure what you’re complaining about. Other organizations are pursuing other tactics, we’re all doing our part to change things. We may be failing miserably, but what are you doing?

  3. “Proven science has not demonstrated that marijuana is a part of that. Despite that fact, marijuana offers those with the most painful chronic diseases a measure of hope in a time of suffering.”

    1) Doesn’t the fact that so many people find “a measure of hope” from marijuana suggest that it probably does have some effect, or at least that it would be worth investigating in a controlled study?

    2) Maybe the fact that “proven science” hasn’t shown the efficacy of marijuana in relieving pain and nausea has something to do with the federal government preventing such research from taking place. I don’t know details here – does anyone know about allowable clinical and physiological research on marijuana or other illegal drugs (with federal funds or otherwise)?

    3) “Marijuana is addictive, and dangerous, and as a gateway drug can ruin a young Vermonter’s life.”
    Three lies (or, if we’re being exceptionally generous, three gross misrepresentations) in 16 words is impressive even for a politician.

  4. getting arrested with pot will ruin your life if you have enough of it, so that’s really only two lies.

  5. Spur,

    How about the National Motorists Association? They helped to repeal the national speed limit law.

    http://www.motorists.org

  6. For whatever it’s worth, I’ve heard that the feds have allowed some experiments (I don’t know if they actually funded them, or just agreed not to arrest the participants in a privately-funded experiment) but they made a point of barring researchers from using the most potent strains of marijuana.

    If true, this would obviously compromise the results. If you decrease the ratio of active ingredient to additional substances, you could easily get more side effects that obscure any medicinal effect. Smoking any substance will involve inhaling other products in addition to the active ingredient, and if some of those products have negative side effects then any rational clinician would want to use the most potent strain available to minimize the exposure to other substances.

  7. “By his own account, Douglas is allowing enactment of a law he thinks is bad policy so that sick people can have false hope. That way he won’t be accused of standing between patients and the drug that relieves their suffering. At the same time, he’s not actually signing the bill, so he retains his credentials as a tough drug warrior. ”

    He doesn’t appear to understand that pusillanimous waffling ALSO sends a message to our children.

  8. “Pusillanimous”, what a wonderfully descriptive word.

  9. Anyone here see Penn & Teller’s episode of “Bullshit” that handled the war on drugs? There are (7) patients nationwide on FEDERALLY prescribed medicinal marijuana. Not a typo.

    I hate the H-word, but what hypocrisy.

  10. By his own account, Douglas is allowing enactment of a law he thinks is bad policy so that sick people can have false hope. That way he won’t be accused of standing between patients and the drug that relieves their suffering. At the same time, he’s not actually signing the bill, so he retains his credentials as a tough drug warrior.

    Gov. James Douglas is a fraud. Sure he has a big sack hanging between his legs. However, that sack has no balls!

  11. JSM,

    Politicians. Sexual organs. Thanks. My stomach has officially turned.

  12. Meh, it’s still getting passed. I care about that more than whether or not he signs it.

  13. Maybe Douglas should stop by my alma mater, the University of Vermont, and learn what I learned in my first three hours of geology: science disproves – science never proves.

  14. AL,

    All those Clinton years didn’t strengthen the old stomach fortitude? I figured we all became numb after the stained blue dress.

    Maybe you need a medical joint to ease that stomach problem of yours! At least you will get your appetite back in time for dinner.

  15. At this point, I’m not going to criticize the rhetoric used when a medical marijuana bill becomes law — there’s plenty of targets for my venom more deserving.

  16. As long as the government controls the only legal research (Current project at U Cal SanDiego) we cannot trust the results.

    Meanwhile, stick your research up your ass, Governor/GWBush/J Walters.

    However Douglas wishes to pontificate, Vermonters and everyone else can be assured of one thing.

    That is Douglas believes that any American who elects to use marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation should be subject to arrest, criminal prosecution and a long sentence in a prison cage.

  17. I live in Vermont. Douglas only won the Governorship because the liberals split their votes between the Democrats and the “Progressives.” Indeed, at this time no party holds a majority in the Vermont House (though the Republicans were able to get the Speakership because they have the most seats). These facts should illustrate why Douglas took the position that he did; Vermont is a highly fractured state politically, and therefore he tries to play to all sides.

    Indeed if you look at other important Vermont politicians – like Bernie Sanders (I) – who by all marks is FDR Democrat if there ever was one – you’ll find that they act similarly. Thus Bernie has a fairly strong gun rights position (especially for a northeastern liberal, nay radical) that he couples with all manner of pork projects for Vermont farmers (traditional and “organic” alike).

  18. The first break in any political log jam looks like this. A very good sign.

    Marijuana is addictive. To any one in pain.

    In fact all drugs are precisely addictive to the extent and nature of pain an indivilual is in. No pain, no addiction. Habituation (physical dependence) is another matter but it is treatable.

    So it may be that marijuana is addictive but not habituating.

  19. Said sarcastically:
    “We know for certain that Iraq is stockpiling WMD”.

    Actually we do know that Iraq was stockpiling WMDs. Evidently some of that stockpile was recently used in Iraq. Even Blix says 800 tons has not been accounted for.

    Personally, I’d leave the Iraq war out of the MJ debate. You are going to need some supporters of that war to change pot policy. There is no point in alienating your potential allies.

  20. “However, I cannot actively support a measure that allows Vermonters to be subject to prosecution under federal law, increases the availability of a controlled substance, and sends a dangerous message to our children.”

    Q: “So guv, you fear for the prosecution of your constituents under federal law. Would you support such prosecution?”

    Guv: “Absolutely!”

    And I guess the dangerous message sent to the children is “If you’re gonna get high in this lifetime, you’re gonna have to contract yourself a terminal illness first.”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.