Medical Marijuana

By | October 6, 2010

I don’t think proponents of medical marijuana have a prayer of getting this out of committee, much less passed by the Texas legislature, much less signed by the governor.

Putting aside the problems in getting a medical marijuana bill passed in Texas, let’s examine the question of why would we want to have medical marijuana?

Pro:

It would ease the suffering and nausea of terminal cancer patients.

It would reduce the financial strength, power, and the violence with which illegal distributors of marijuana.

From where I sit, Mexico looks mighty close.  Drug dealers have penetrated the law enforcement institutions in Mexico.  Many Mexican police chiefs, judges, and prosecutors have been corrupted.

In Colombia, Pablo Escobar’s henchmen were known for their laconic offer-that-couldn’t-be-refused: “¿plata o plomo?”  In English: “silver or lead?”  Would you rather take our money or be shot?

It would be naïve to think that the same offer isn’t being made – and accepted

— on the USA side of the border.  There are already news reports of prosecutors and police in South Texas who have been charged with corruption.

If medical marijuana is made legal, then Texas could benefit from taxing it.

Con:

It encourages young people to think that there isn’t anything wrong with it, when, in fact, there is.

Medical marijuana will cost too much.  Some say it may cost as much as $20.00 / gram. That isn’t helping the poor terminally ill guy any.

Who will the government allow to smoke pot?  Patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, Lou Gehrig’s disease, severe muscle spasms, muscular dystrophy, inflammatory bowel disease, and any terminally ill patient.   What then about the depressed?  The anxious?

It encourages young people to think that there isn’t anything wrong with it, when, in fact, marijuana can be abused just like alcohol.

The issues which tend to arise are: how do we keep recreational smokers from just going to a “prescription doctor” a la Mexico, getting a prescription and a State ID card allowing them to possess marijuana, and getting high?   “Oh, doctors wouldn’t do that,” you might say.  That’s what the voters of Colorado and Montana thought, I say. 

Other issues are: how will cities and counties regulate where authorized sellers of pot can run their businesses?  It’s no good letting a legal pot seller set up across the street from a high school.  Once cities and counties impose restrictions on where legal sellers can set up shop, if the restrictions are too onerous, then will deliveries of pot be permitted? 

Now I’m back to the question of how to get a bill for medical marijuana passed in Texas.

Proponents of medical marijuana would be smartest, in Texas anyway, to watch the many other states which have passed medical marijuana laws to see what legal issues arise in them.

If Texas proponents don’t wait to see how these issues shake out in other states, they may see such a backlash in Texas that a medicinal marijuana law, if passed, would be quickly repealed.  To be honest, this all sound academic in Texas.   I can’t imagine the Republicans who run this state ever making medical pot legal.