A lot of blogospheric energy over the past few days has been aimed at the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision in Gonzales v. Raich, which (you may have heard) upheld the federal government's authority to prosecute medical-marijuana smokers, even in states where that's legal.
- Nick Gillespie in the LA Times,
- David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy,
- two posts from the Qualityless Man here and
- here, and
- John Tabin at the American Spectator.
But I feel about medical exceptions to the marijuana laws much the same as I do about internet exceptions to campaign finance laws. Both are distractions from the real issue.
To wit: There shouldn't be an "internet exception" to campaign finance rules; instead, the whole concept of campaign finance regulation should be offensive to a society that values free expression.
Similarly, there shouldn't be a medical exception to the drug laws. The whole notion of drug prohibition—especially on the federal level—should have no place in a free society.
People that raise their voices about these issues only when their own oxen are being gored don't impress me much. (Even if their oxen have glaucoma.) Nor do I have a high opinion of using such "exceptions" as a foot-in-the-door tactic for possible broader reform later. Be honest: argue for what you really want.
But that's probably why I'm not much of a politician.
That said, the decision was disappointing but not very surprising. Wish Scalia had been on the other side. (I used to hope for 9 Scalias on the Court. Now I wish for 5 Thomases and 4 Scalias.)
And, if I had to find a bright ray of hope in the muck that is the Supremes' decision, it's that the Court clearly tossed the ball into Congress's lap. This means your local Congresscritters, and mine, may actually have to go on the record on the issue, and it might be fun to watch them squirm.