urbanitas23 (urbanitas23) wrote,

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What the fuck is going on around here?

I know this is the most popular subject heading for my posts lately, but when Justice Stephens is in agreement with Scalia, fair is foul and foul is fair. This is over today’s Supreme Court ruling in regard to the question of whether Federal drug control laws supercede states’ abilities to self-determine health care policies. I can understand the ruling, although I don’t agree with it. It's no great surprise that states must defer to federal law, but here was an opportunity for a legal challenge to the constitutionality of federally controlled substances remaining in such a category after doctors and voters have approved a substance for such use. I think that, among other reasons, a reason this wasn’t touched is that it has implications for Oregon’s assisted suicide law. The substances used in “death with dignity” situations are federally controlled. Of course, the marijuana is being used to treat, whereas the other substances are used to “end treatment”, and so do warrant a distinction; but legally this a distinction that would have to come through the court. The irony in the assisted suicide debate, is that if it is illegal to use the controlled substance across the board, then the US government must go after states that employ the death penalty by lethal injection (and possibly gas, as I don’t know what is controlled and what isn’t in that capacity) because those substances are in fact the same federally controlled ones that doctors in Oregon use.

The way the question in today’s ruling was framed was whether the federal government has a right to enact legislation which trumps state legislation. The question of whether the Federal drug laws are constitutional was not addressed, although the likelihood of that happening anytime soon is very, very slim. This is a very major defeat for progressive drug reform and I can only hope that this setback will spearhead the move to legalize marijuana across the board now that the medical dispensation has been federally preempted. It is still up to the discretion of federal agents whether they want to actively enforce this law, but with Alberto “I believe the tactics of the Spanish Inquisition were underrated” Gonzalez sitting in the A.G. seat, I fear that a lot of sick people in small towns will receive knocks on their doors from people wearing yellow letters who have come to take away their medicine. If they are lucky enough, maybe they’ll win an all expenses paid trip to the flawless healing facility that is imprisonment. For a laugh, get a look at the dissenters: William “Strom got a bad rap” Rhenquist, Clarence “I’m more self-loathing than Woody Allen” Thomas and Sandra “Why are these two crazy assholes agreeing with me?” Day O’ Connor. In her dissent, she wrote: "Relying on Congress' abstract assertions, the court has endorsed making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one's own home for one's own medicinal use," she said. "This overreaching stifles an express choice by some states ... to regulate medical marijuana differently."

In other news, I fear that today’s anniversary of D-Day will be used by Republican opportunists to defend and glorify the action in Iraq and Afghanistan. I haven’t seen anything yet, but I’m waiting for the other shoe to fall.
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