Regarding Howard Dean's F+
By Andrew Looney


I got email this week, taking me to task for last week's Thought Residue quote, regarding Howard Dean's performance on the medical marijuana issue:

"That's a rather selective quote. Dean is no progressive, but his positions make sense. One way or another, he's no where near as bad as Bush. When was the last time Bush committed to doing a study of pot and acting according to the results? That F+ is pretty absurd."

Needless to say, I disagreed with my reader. Here's what I wrote back:

I'm totally unimpressed by "committing to do a study and act according to the results." We've done *plenty* of studies. If Dean wants to follow a study, I'd urge him to look at the Institute of Medicine's 1999 study, which concluded that pot does indeed have medical usefulness not equaled by any other available treatments. Unfortunately, since it didn't deliver the desired results, Clinton simply ignored it, just as Nixon ignored the Schaffer report he commissioned in 1969. To quote from the Drug Policy Alliance's website, "Over the past century, numerous reports from independent, government-sponsored commissions have documented the drug's relative harmlessness and recommended the elimination of criminal sanctions for consumption-related offenses." Yet always, our so-called leaders just ignore these reports. The last thing we need is yet another study.

The folks who are dying without free access to medical marijuana don't have time for yet another study.

The people who are wasting their lives -- and our taxpayer money -- just sitting in prison cells don't have time for yet another study.

The children whose parents are in jail for marijuana "crimes" don't have time for yet another study.

To me, when a politician promises to do a study, they are promising only to waste more of our time doing nothing. Moreover, as we see from this week's news about the retraction of an anti-drug study by Johns Hopkins, studies aren't even reliable. They can be twisted and distorted and used to tell lies, just like statistics. I put more stock in the 72% of the public, who agree that marijuana should be legalized, at least for medical use, and in the statements of people who actually use the stuff, and know for themselves the truth about it.

I'm absolutely fed up with politicians who will agree only to "study" the matter, particularly when ample studies already exist and are simply being ignored. I want a candidate who'll be a leader on this issue, who'll say the things that actually need to be said: that the Drug War is a disaster and must be stopped, now.

Andrew Looney

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