Michigan has a ballot proposal that, if passed, will legalize medical marijuana. It looks like it will easily pass. Moreover, it seems to be getting very little attention–it’s noncontroversial.
How did we get here? I think it’s safe to say that this proposal would have been a major flashpoint 8 years ago. In fact, I attended a treatment provider meeting 8 years ago only to suffer through a presentation by a local prosecutor about a marijuana ballot proposal in which he repeatedly referred to George Soros and others as “crack daddies.”
This time around most people seem to be barely aware of the proposal and few people seem to have strong feelings. Yesterday is the first time I remember seeing a commercial. I’ve seen no serious analysis of the proposal. No one seems to be seriously wrestling with questions like the following:
- Is marijuana good medicine?
- Does this proposal integrate lessons from other states like California?
- has legalization of medical marijuana led to increased marijuana use by teens or lowered the age of first use?
- Are there other options (like Savitex) that are better?
- Instead of changing state constitutions one at a time, should we pressing for unbiased clinical trials and if those trials merit it, have the FDA seriously review it for approval?
- Are there legitimate reasons for the FDA to withhold approval? If so, is this a good way to make medical policy?
- How many cancer or MS patients have been arrested for using marijuana?
My suspicion is that the reason there’s no serious discussion of these questions is because it’s too difficult to trust what anyone has to say on the subject. We’ve all been held hostage by the drug policy freak show
with the ONDCP on one side and legalization advocates on the other. We know the drug war is a disaster but we’re not comfortable with decriminalization and we hate the drug policy war too. It’s spilled beyond drug enforcement policy and is polluting discussion of treatment and prevention. We feel like we can’t trust what anyone says, so we just tune it all out.
In this way, the drug war is the gift that keeps on giving.