Drugs Apples to Bananas and Pot to Pablum
posted by April 29 at 11:30 AMon
While Timothy Garon is dying here in Seattle without a liver transplant because he used medical marijuana, folks in Michigan are fighting over a medical-marijuana initiative. An organization calling itself “True Compassion,” funded through the U.S. Department of Justice, is running a slick television ad to quash the measure.
It’s a crisp ad, but, with an ironic twist, it uses muddy logic. Apples aren’t bananas, check. Dogs aren’t cats, check. Pot isn’t harmless, check. I think everyone is on board so far. Pot doesn’t help some people… wait.
Here’s the strategy behind the ad (and the federal government’s latest talking points against medical marijuana). First, it implies that the debate over medical marijuana boils down to pot being either harmless or dangerous. As we know, all drugs prescribed by doctors have some potential for danger, but we accept that potential harm because our doctor believes the benefits outweigh the risks. This is true for everything from Ambien to Zyrtec. Pot is a drug, so when it’s used for medical purposes, it should be held to the same standards as every drug—not compared to some mystical hippie claim that it’s harmless. Now, do some trashy hippies with angels hanging from their rear-view mirrors claim pot is “just a plant” from “Mother Nature” and “God doesn’t make mistakes” and blah, blah, blah? Sure they say those things, but those people are total dips. Licensed physicians are the ones recommending medical marijuana.
Next, the ad suggests that pot isn’t helpful to anybody. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 66-year-old Jim Ware, a cancer survivor and former cop.
More stories like Ware’s are over here. Last, the ad makes a familiar claim which is outright false: “Every major health organization rejects smoked marijuana.” There’s been limited research on medical marijuana because, well, the government rarely allows it. Nevertheless, medical marijuana has been supported by the American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lymphoma Foundation of America, AIDS Action Council, American Academy of HIV Medicine, National Association of People With AIDS, and others.
This debate isn’t about medical marijuana, of course; it’s about recreational pot smoking. The admission that medical marijuana is an acceptable treatment for the severely ill is to concede that the government has been lying. Pot isn’t purely dangerous, and pot, like alcohol, should be legal.