He's got MS! Seize him!


Another day, another story of a crackdown on a desperate medical marijuna smoker. This time it's in Vermont and the victim is MS sufferer Shayne Higgins.

Higgins is one of 29 Vermonters registered with the Department of Public Safety to legally consume cannabis under the state's medical marijuana law, which took effect in October 2004. But unlike other medical marijuana patients, Higgins isn't allowed to consume cannabis in his own home. Starr Farm's administrators have told him that they could lose their Medicaid certification and federal funding if they allow him to possess or use a drug the U.S. government considers illegal.

Last summer, a Starr Farm staff member found a marijuana cigarette in Higgins' belongings and called the police. Although he had a Marijuana Registry ID card, the Burlington officer confiscated the joint; no charges were filed. Since then, the nursing home's administrator has told Higgins that he may not keep marijuana in his private room or smoke it anywhere on the grounds.

I have a solution. Shayne Higgins for Congress!

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  1. I think that’s the saddest story I’ve ever read. Or at least in a long awhile.

  2. Some days I can’t even begin to fathom the outright cruelty of people, and the fuckheads who are in charge of this country. I should have gotten used to it after Waco and Ruby Ridge. But every new story like this just makes me more horribly depressed. I’m going to go get really drunk.

  3. What a shitty position to put the staffers in.

  4. Get DRUNK? This is a 4:19 (got a minute?) moment if there ever was one.

    History has a case study on this matter. A re-reading of the 18th and 21st Ammendments might be in order here.

  5. Or the Ninth…

  6. A case study? History is rife with them.

    No government in the history of the world has successfully shut down a black market by interdicting supply.

  7. Has any gov’t in the history of the world ever successfully shut down a black market by any means?

  8. Has any gov’t in the history of the world ever successfully shut down a black market by any means?

    The US government did a pretty good job of ending the black market in booze by ending Prohibition. So there’s one way to shut down a black market (hint, hint). 😉

  9. Get DRUNK?

    Sure, Pi Guy. You wouldn’t want to break the law now, would you? Because it would be absolutely devastating to society for you to put a non-toxic substance with mild psychoactive effects into your system. You might run over a little girl, or put a fist in your mouth, or run from junkyard dogs or fry eggs or something. We can’t have that!

    Jamie, give me an hour or so (EST). I’ll be joining you.

  10. Well, SP, I dunno about “non-toxic.” But then, most useful materials humans consume have some level of toxicity.

    We may not have established a known level at which harm comes, but that substances alter the function of physiological processes implies that there may be some dosage at which that alteration is harmful.

  11. Last summer, a Starr Farm staff member found a marijuana cigarette in Higgins’ belongings and called the police.

    I can think of one person who needs to be shown the door at Starr Farm, and it ain’t Higgins.

  12. Is anybody else thinking about calling the officer or staffer in question and bitching them out? I mean, even if they continually pass the buck to their supervisors or whatever, somebody will eventually have to deal with several PO’d folks and that might spur them to change their policies or at least start up an ongoing news discussion. From there, it’s a matter of holding onto the editorial pages in the state in question to sway public opinion towards support of medical marijuana.

  13. Clean Hands – It would be almost impossible to ingest enough marijuana for it to kill you. I read of a study done in the 1970’s where they gave a rat 700 doses of hash without it dying. There are very few substances (I can think if) that you could say the same thing about. Water, for example, is not one of them

    I wasn’t able to access the article below, but I believe it’s the same one:

    Clin Toxicol. 1970 Mar;3(1):101-15.
    An analysis of marijuana toxicity.

    Smith DE, Mehl C.

    PMID: 5520383 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

  14. CH – In re-reading your post, I realized I may have missed your point. I don’t think of “non-toxic” as being synonymous with “harmless”. Even chronic (pun intended) use of small doses will have some negative effect over an extended period of time. Just not nearly as bad as say, alcohol. Or corn syrup.

  15. God dammit, if only we could elect the right people to office.
    (it’s a joke)

  16. It doesn’t matter if marijuana is “toxic” or “harmful” or psychoactive or any other adjective you can think of. If I wanto to intoxicate, harm myself, or become stinkin’ stoned, I outta be able to do that to myself no matter where I live as long as I do not infringe on the rights of others while I do it.

  17. And no kidding; I could drink fruit juice while smoking some ganja, and pound for pound I’d probably keel over faster from the corn syrup than the THC!

  18. Why couldn’t the “staffer” have politely asked the poor bastard to not leave roaches lying around?
    Just another instance of people looking to their nanny for all forms of guidance. Call the police? I hope the dumb bitch’s (or dickhead’s) car is stolen next time the police are out on another “lifestyle” offense call.


    I’m telling you, Prohibition is THE Libertarian issue. It get clearer and closer every day.

  20. michela – just to be clear, I think you have the right to do anything you want with your life that does not violate the rights of others. I was merely trying to ‘deconstruct’ one of the more common arguments against drug legalization.

  21. Ugh. I apologize for my poor grammar in the previous post.

  22. Brilliant post, grylliade.

    And Warren, I agree with you. Drug legalization is about so much more than just the right to get high. It’s about:

    1) Tons of money spent.
    2) The crime fueled by prohibition.
    3) The terrorism fueled by prohibition (e.g. Afghan warlords in the heroin trade)
    4) The shrinking of civil liberties in the name of prohibition. The Patriot Act is little more than a drug war wish list (and, as I understand, it’s been used in precisely that manner).
    5) Still more money spent.
    6) The drug war is a many-tentacled beast that infects every area of public policy. Nursing homes cracking down on sick people to comply with drug policy and keep Medicare funding is just one of many, many examples.

    If this were about the right to get high it would be low on my list of priorities. But this is about an expensive, failed policy that helps fuel the growth of the state while simultaneously fueling violence.

    This is why the Drug War is at the top of my list of libertarian priorities.

  23. thoreau,
    Well put, thanks for articulating those points. I get too bent out of shape over this sometimes, and if I’m not careful I tend to froth at the mouth.

    One aside on your comment; I don’t object to anyone putting ‘the right to get high’ low on their list of priorities. I do however object to it being explicitly barred. Too often I hear libertarians endorse the prohibition axiom that “Drugs are bad, mmmkay”, even as they protest the WOD on practical grounds. The freedom to get high should be respected and protected much as the free practice of religion is. Libertarians may choose to de-emphasize the social benefits of recreational drug use. They should however, never deny them.

  24. By the way, the title for this thread would have been way funnier if it had been: She’s got MS! Seize her!

  25. RC, 76, Cecil,

    Fight the real enemy here, and it’s not the staffer caught in the middle. You know how the drug police operate. You know how ruthless they are. You know about the “crackhouse” laws. And you know how loose they can be about the term “facilitate” when they get the chance to get a “big bust” in their file.

    Would you risk getting the entire place shut down, and every other resident tossed out to God knows where, if you found yourself in this situation?

    This is a damn shame, but it is not the staffer’s fault.

  26. Thoreau,

    Add in the innocent victims. Chronic pain folks. People who can’t keep meds down. People who need a simple decongestant when the pharmacy’s closed. Folks who get raided because the warrant should have said West Street instead of East Street. Folks who get raided because the LEO in charge wants to confiscate their stuff.

    Then there’s the “no pain, no gain” argument. We have to put up with all the bad stuff about the WoD to keep the streets clean.

    Only we’ve been running WoD for better than three decades, and there are drugs sold on our streets in more quantity, more variety, more potency, and more lethality than ever before.

    And then we could start looking beyond the U.S. to what our WoD does to other countries, like Mexico and Colombia.

    We really need to declare victory and stop fighting.

  27. “Toxic” is a weasel word that can mean many different things. If a “toxic” substance is a substance that intoxicates, then the toxic dose of cannabis is very small — a couple of puffs. If “toxic” means “causing any adverse effect,” then again the toxic dose would be very small, because some people would consider reddened eyes, dry mouth, forceful coughing, lethargy, and impaired short-term memory to be adverse effects. If “toxic” means causing death or serious and lasting adverse health effects, then cannabis is relatively non-toxic.

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