Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Will medical marijuana be Quinn’s concession to ideological opposition?

Gov. Pat Quinn has made it clear he is eager to have the General Assembly send him legislation approving marriage for gay couples and limiting the size of ammunition magazines for firearms – both measures that will draw him the ire of the ideological right.

QUINN: Has yet to make up mind
But he is reluctant to say what he will do with the issue of medical marijuana – which the Illinois state Senate gave final legislative approval to last week.

WHICH MEANS IT is now in the hands of the Mighty Quinn to decide whether Illinois should become the 19th state to let people use marijuana without hassle by police – IF they can get a doctor’s consent for a legitimate medical problem!

Those people who oppose the idea are the ones who have come to think of marijuana as some sort of “hippie freak” drug – and they’re the ones who can’t stand the idea of doing anything that might be interpreted as supporting something they consider “liberal.” Even though I have known people of all parts of the ideological spectrum who have gotten stoned during their lifetimes.

That is what makes this opposition a totally nonsensical way to view this issue. But that has never stopped the ideologues before.

The fact that marijuana might have a legitimate medical purpose is something they don’t want to consider. I guess they think that some ideological views are more important to uphold than anything science might say.

SO WHEN STATE Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, said last week during legislative debate that, “for every touching story that we have heard about the benefits of those in pain, I remind you today that there are a thousand times more parents who will never be relieved from the pain of losing a child due to addiction, which in many cases has started with the very illegal, FDA-unapproved, addiction-forming drug you are asking us to make a normal part of our communities,” I’d retort that he’s bringing up two, totally un-related issues.

McCARTER: Speaking out?
Anybody who actually gets a prescription from a doctor for marijuana use is going to have their use controlled, which makes the idea of someone’s overdose irrelevant. And as far as the “very illegal” part, that is an artificial status.

It’s only illegal because someone said it should be for ideological purposes. Illegal is whatever our government officials say it is.

Now having said all that, I do comprehend the argument made by police that the tests for sobriety that are used to determine if someone is driving while intoxicated by alcohol do not have a corresponding test for drug use.

Too many people associate pot with '60s counterculture
THERE IS NO real way to say someone is “legally” stoned. So the idea of punishing people for being impaired by pot is a dream. We’d be trusting the police and their judgment to figure out who has had “too much weed” to be out in public.

But somehow, I wonder if that argument will wind up carrying weight with the governor. Because a part of me wonders if rejecting this bill will be the governor’s attempt to appease the ideological critics who are going to be outraged by him for being so outspoken about wanting to back gay marriage and restrictions on firearms.

He hasn’t said he would do that. He’s not saying much of anything. “Open minded” is what he says he will be, which can mean just about anything.

So considering that anything could happen to this bill, we all have to keep in mind that people who want to view this as a matter of medicine and science might get their desires cast aside in the name of partisan politics.

WHICH MIGHT OFFEND people who don’t pay much attention to the workings of government and might think that all bills before the General Assembly and the governor are ruled on based on their merits.

But that ugly partisan factor always manages to creep its way into the process.


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