It's weed day over at Alternate Brain. Gord pops over to Alternet to let us know about this week's call by 500 count 'em 500 leading economists, led by yet another Reagan era relic Milton Friedman, for a national debate on pot:
The occasion was a new report by Harvard University economist Dr. Jeffrey Miron estimating - - probably conservatively -- that replacing prohibition with a system of common-sense regulation could mean $10 billion to $14 billion per year in reduced government spending and new revenues.He then checks in with Digby, who weighs in on the Supremes' decision to override states' rights and give the Feds the trump card on medical marijuana:
"We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods," Friedman and colleagues wrote. "At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues, and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition."
The good news is that, as Stevens says in the opinion, it preserves the right of federal legislators to change the laws, so that's nice. When we finally get over our reefer madness in this country, which I expect to be in a couple of hundred years or so, maybe the Armageddon Party can join with the Theocrats and make it legal. But of course, it won't be necessary because Pfizer will have found a way to perfectly re-create the effect of marijuana in a pill form and will have made millions selling it by prescription to those who can afford it --- which is, after all, the whole point.I still don't understand the insanity of making something illegal that you can grow in your back yard, which is arguably less damaging than either alcohol or prescription drugs. And I say that as someone who has always full-on hated pot (although I never turned it down -- which is but one of the many reasons why We Don't Let Jane Do That Anymore). I think Digby's right -- once again Pfizer and the fundies have had a nice convergence of interests. The fundies can decry pot as a corrupting social influence, and Pfizer et. al. can keep their corner on the getting wasted legally market (see: OxyLimbaugh).
Update:: TBogg once again has the final word:
Let's arrest people suffering from cancer and take away something that allows them to live out their last few days in relative comfort because life is all about pain and suffering and why should they get to turn on and drop out? Just explain the commerce clause to them while they puke up their guts over the toilet. They'll understand.On a personal note, a few years ago a friend's mom called me up to tell me she was dying and say she knew that my friend would be okay because I would always look out for him, a trust I've always taken very seriously. We then got to sit by and watch her die a slow and painful death as cancer ate away at her gastro-intestinal system. The one thing that helped her keep some food down and alleviate her extreme nausea was smoking medical marijuana.
Sandra Day O'Connor and Rehnquist, both of whom are cancer survivors, joined Clarence Thomas in dissent. (Can we have a weak one-time only chorus of "yeah Clarence?") The uncharitable amongst us would note with irony the possibililty that one day Justices Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer and Scalia might spend their final hours hugging the porcelain and puking for their principles.