Suddenly Everyone* Wants To Legalize Weed (*Not Everyone)
To bring to life the old cliché that libertarians are just Republicans who want to get high, a couple of conservatives have unexpectedly supported various changes to marijuana laws this week. What's more, there's even a bill in the U.S. Senate to end the federal ban on medical weed and reclassify marijuana's legal status from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 drug, thus "allowing doctors to recommend its use in some cases to veterans, expanding access to researchers and making it easier for banks to provide services to the industry."
It remains to be seen whether driving vans made out of compressed marijuana would be legal on all federal highways, or only in Washington and Colorado.
Sens. Rand Paul, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand are pretty stoked about their reform bill, almost as if it had a chance in the Republican-controlled Congress:
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would “allow patients, doctors and businesses in states that have already passed medical marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of federal prosecution,” according to a joint statement from the senators’ offices. The bill will also “make overdue reforms to ensure patients -- including veterans receiving care from VA facilities in states with medical marijuana programs -- access the care they need.”
It's not about weed, it's about caring! And who knows, maybe it won't be DOA, what with 23 states allowing medical use of marijuana to one degree or another. It's not like any rightwing candidates would be drooling for the chance to run ads saying "Senator _____ voted to give POT TO CHILDREN! IN THEIR SCHOOL LUNCHES!"
Speaking of which, new support for medical pot came from a surprising source Wednesday: super-rightwing Christian conservative Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa wingnut who heads the "Family Leader" summit at which Republican presidential hopefuls try to out-conservative each other. Turns out that Mr. Vander Plaats has discovered a funny little loophole that allows him to be both pro-family and pro-(some) weed products. The Iowa legislature is considering a bill that would allow the purchase of cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy, and since Vander Plaats's son Lucas suffers from seizures caused by a congenital brain disorder, Vander Plaats hoped that Iowa would "finish the job" and pass the bill, even though his own son would not benefit from the existing law.
"We've seen what happens when children have seizures and the different maneuvers we need to make and the games you need to play to get the right seizure medication to control the seizure that would limit or reduce the side effects greatly," he said from the statehouse. "Now, as Iowans, we believe we need to take the next step and figure out how it is we get this medical cannabis oil into the hands of parents so their children can benefit from it."
Vander Plaats said he and his wife were "applauding and cheering silently from the sidelines" last year as the state decriminalized possession of marijuana extract for patients with epilepsy.
However, since the bill didn't allow the growth or sale of cannabis to make the oil in Iowa, people would have to purchase it in other states, most of which don't allow sale to non-residents. So Vander Plaats supports allowing "production, purchase and possession of cannabis oil to treat debilitating medical conditions" in Iowa. Funny how a personal connection to something like this can change minds, huh? Needless to say, Vander Plaats remains opposed to the nonmedical use of the Devil's weed, because those other people are just dirty hippies. And no, you'd better not start calling him Vander Potz or Vander Plaants.
"Everything that God made is good, even marijuana ... The conservative thought is that government doesn't need to fix something that God made good."
Under Simpson's bill, marijuana would receive no more regulation under Texas law than any other agricultural crop. Sadly, Simpson may be just a wee bit ahead of his time for Texas, even if Simpson did write an op-ed in which he cited the Bible to support his position that marijuana use should be a personal choice:
The Bible warns about excessive drinking, eating and sleeping (Proverbs 23:21), but it doesn’t ban the activities or the substances or conditions associated with them — alcohol, food and fatigue. Elsewhere, feasting and wine are recognized as blessings from God.
Scripture stresses respect for our neighbor’s liberty and conscience, moderation for all and abstinence for some.
Amen! In a follow-up blog post, Simpson replied to critics who pointed out that God also made rattlesnakes, but that doesn't mean He wants us to play with them recreationally:
I no more suggest that people should use marijuana recreationally than I suggest that people play with rattlesnakes. The difference is, the state does not prohibit playing with rattlesnakes, and some people actually bring them to the Capitol and let other people play with them.
Simpson did not specify whether he also supports letting rattlesnakes get high, but if that's in the Bible, he's probably OK with it. We'll be looking for updates on the progress of his bill in the pages of the Houston Chronic.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.