A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania passed through the House and is under review by the Senate. You can read about it here.
The legality of cannabis by state varies, but suffice to say Pennsylvania remains in the minority of 11 states that haven’t legalized any form of the cannabis plant. A poll in October indicated that 90 percent of Pennsylvanians favor medical cannabis prescribed through a doctor.
I’m for legalizing medical marijuana. I’m for legalizing recreational marijuana.
However, cannabis is not merely illegal under Federal law, its classification as a Schedule I substance means it has been deemed to have no beneficial use for humanity.
Regardless, I’m in favor of states bypassing the national government in this case. The Federal government’s policy is in blind disregard of the available research on the cannabis plant, denies a beneficial medicine to sick Americans, gives nonviolent offenders a criminal record, hasn’t worked in curtailing marijuana use, and is inconsistent with the legality of pharmaceuticals, nicotine and alcohol.
In general, I’m fond of Article VI of the Constitution, which makes Federal law supreme. I don’t feel a state should be free to contradict Federal laws at leisure, especially when it comes to civil rights.
I don’t believe a state can make a law limiting or denying a right that the Federal government recognizes. This isn’t just protected by Article VI but by the 14th Amendment and considerable legislative and judicial law.
However, on the reverse end, when a Federal law limits a right that a state wishes to respect, I approve state governments that have the courage to enact legislation.
With medical marijuana, the Federal government is denying citizens the right to effective medicine while permitting pharmaceuticals that are more addicting, have far more dangerous side affects (including an increased chance of trying heroin) and are terrible for our water systems.
I respect Senator Mike Folmer, the bill’s sponsor and a self-professed social conservative, for having the ability to change his mind when presented with research and then have the strength to mount a bi-partisan campaign against what he sees as a wrongful law.
If the Federal government so chooses, they could supersede the states that have passed legislation, but they haven’t, which I take as a sign of approval by indecision.
The Federal government shouldn’t interfere with a citizen’s access to effective medicine. I don’t think they should interfere with a guy that wants to smoke a joint on his property either. In a democracy, we should be free to choose our unhealthy habits.
For more information on the pros and cons of medical cannabis, here are EllwoodCity.org articles on a round table Ellwood City hosted with Senator Folmer and others: