Thursday, July 26, 2007

McNerney's vote against CA marijuana law

McNerney just voted against an amendment which would end Federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients who are in full compliance with CA state law. Here is McNerney's explanation:
"I have spoken to many law enforcement officials concerned about the effect of drug use on our communities, particularly in San Joaquin County. The problem is real," McNerney said in a statement issued Thursday. "Just yesterday, Stockton police announced a successful drug sweep in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies that led to 51 arrests and the seizure of over 12 pounds of illegal substances."

"We are facing a drug crisis with meth and other drug use on the rise. Until we get a handle on the crippling drug use in our society, I cannot support the relaxation of current drug policy."
Invoking meth epidemics and massive drug busts to explain a vote on medical marijuana? I'm a little disappointed here. Not because I think McNerney voted the wrong way (he did) but because of his somewhat mendacious explanation.

From National Marijuana Policy Project (same article):
Bruce Mirken, communications director for the national Marijuana Policy Project, said McNerney's statement "deliberately confuses apples and oranges, and insults every California patient struggling to maintain life and dignity in the face of cancer, AIDS, MS, and other horrible illnesses."

"No sane person considers it a `relaxation of drug laws' that physicians are allowed to prescribe methamphetamine, cocaine and morphine, and no one seriously suggests depriving patients who need those drugs of their benefits just because someone else might misuse them," Mirken said. "This statement reads like an excuse, not a reason, to justify what McNerney thinks is a politically safe vote."

But that political calculation is wrong, Mirken insisted; three quarters of California voters support the state's medical marijuana law, "and those who worked and donated money to put McNerney in office will be the most bitterly disillusioned by his betrayal of the most vulnerable Californians."

Update: As fate would have it I stumbled upon a documentary last night on Showtime called "In Pot We Trust" which takes you through the everyday lives of people who struggle with chronic illnesses and live in fear of Federal or State prosecution. Some previews on YouTube - check it out.


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