The Dope Docket


On the basis of early reporting from this morning's oral arguments in Raich v. Ashcroft, it sounds as though the justices are fairly skeptical. The AP report has Justice Breyer suggesting that "supporters of marijuana for the ill should take their fight to federal drug regulators—before coming to the Supreme Court," which is too bad, since what's at issue is precisely whether they should have to beg permission from the feds to take medicine approved by their states' laws. Most depressingly stupid paragraph in the piece:

Some Republican members of Congress, meanwhile, urged the court to consider that more than 20,000 people die each year because of drug abuse. A ruling against the government, they said, would help drug traffickers avoid arrest, increase the marijuana supply and send a message that illegal drugs are good.

First, of course, a whole lot of those deaths have to do with prohibition's undermining dosage and quality control. Second, even if that weren't the case it seems relevant that none of those deaths are the direct result of marijuana overdoses. Third, it's not clear why making the medicinal use of a drug legal sends the message that illegal drugs are good (lots of people using illegal marijuana to raise their quality of life might do that) any more than the current regime sends the message that Percocet is good. Fill in Fourth through Nth yourself…