No fewer than 23 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to allow access to marijuana for therapeutic needs. The public is on board: 86 percent of Americans think doctors should be allowed to prescribe it for serious illnesses.
Yet in the 19 years since California became the first state to try the idea, our elected representatives in Washington have done little to facilitate these experiments and a lot to obstruct them. Federal law has not changed, and federal drug agents and prosecutors are free to enforce it in cheerful disregard of state choices. Steve Chapman explores the federal government's absurd refusal to respond to its citizens' evolving attitudes.