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May 11, 2004
Is this a war we really want to win?

Deroy Murdock has a thought-provoking article in today's National Review. I thought we already lost the war on drugs, but apparently, the government has decided to expand it.

Mr. Murdock observes, "At a time when federal officials should focus obsessively on crushing terrorists, they are expanding the disastrous war on drugs into an even more pointless war on substances. From old bogeymen like marijuana to new 'hazards'like Oxycontin, Washington busybodies are knocking themselves out combating compounds that, by themselves, do not threaten public safety."

First, the Justice Department has initiated a new assault on medical marijuana:

"The Justice Department has appealed a December 2003 federal court decision that barred Uncle Sam from impeding Californians who use personally grown, locally cultivated, or charitably donated medical marijuana. In Raich v. Ashcroft, the Ninth Circuit correctly disallowed the Constitution's commerce-clause rationale for federal intervention. After all, how can interstate commerce include intrastate, noncommercial activity?"

Reasonable minds can differ on the medical marijuana issue, but that's not the only substance on the target list. The Justice Department has also taken aim at ephedra (a weight loss suplement) and Hydrocodone (Vicodin), America's most widely prescribed painkiller. According to Mr. Murdock:

"The DEA wants to make hydrocodone a Schedule II drug, track how much of it doctors prescribe, and monitor the amount each patient receives."

"Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Rossi encapsulated Justice's profound disdain for pain specialists when he declared: 'Our office will try our best to root out certain doctors like the Taliban.'"

As an attorney, I wouldn't relish the though of prosecuting pain-ridden patients and their doctors for prescribing substances that allow sick people to live semi-normal lives. I agree with Mr. Murdock's conclusion:

"Adults should be free to stimulate, fortify, or medicate themselves however they wish, so long as they simultaneously respect the rights and safety of others. As al Qaeda prepares bloody surprises, it is simply surreal for federal officials to exert even one calorie of collective energy to battle American citizens who trim their waistlines, boost their batting averages, or soothe their pounding nerve endings."

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Posted by Whiskey at May 11, 2004 5:22 AM

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