President Obama’s new policy on medical marijuana brings to mind the old saying: even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in while. That was back when you could say “blind” and “acorn” was only a single nut, not an organized mob of them.
Let’s give credit where credit is due – the President’s decision to discontinue federal prosecutions of medical use of marijuana is practical, principled, and compassionate.
Libertarians should credit the President for recognizing the right of individuals to make their own choices in medical treatments and drug use. That’s one in a row.
Republicans can stand behind the President for recognizing states’ rights and following the Constitutional limitations on federal government powers. That’s one in a row.
Democrats should be thrilled that the President has finally done something that is supported by a majority of citizens. That’s one in a row.
You see? Limiting government is not only easy, it brings us together. The Libertarian Party has been way ahead of the curve; fighting for the rights of individuals to make our own choices over what we put into our bodies and for what purposes. Our stand was taken long before public opinion swung to our views.
But the President’s new policy is a victory for a principle, not for a Party; credit goes to the millions of people who have worked tirelessly for years to bring sanity to this issue – people from across the political spectrum as well as people who could care less about politics and have acted only out of compassion.
The President’s decision will bring peace of mind to millions of American families and it costs less than nothing – it reduces federal spending on prosecution and incarceration of people who pose no threat to civil order.
But one in a row is not enough. A Presidential directive can be reversed by the next President; or this one if the polls shift against him. It can be ignored by federal prosecutors. And it does nothing to confront the real imperative – comprehensive reform of our destructive drug laws. The President took one step, now it is time for Congress to get to work and finish the job.
The consequences of drug prohibition in this nation are far worse than the consequences of drug use. Studies continue to show that our drug laws do not reduce rates of use, abuse, or addiction. They have created new problems of crime, gangs, corruption violence, international terrorism, and the destruction of our inner cities. They have made a difficult problem impossible, and we have squandered hundreds of billions of dollars on a fool’s errand that has now lasted decades.
Those who oppose this decision will worry that the President’s ban on medical marijuana prosecutions will lead to increased recreational drug use. I ask them only to consider this: will you now start using drugs now as a result? Neither will I; and neither will anyone else who has chosen not to use drugs. And those who have chosen to abuse drugs are not deterred by laws – we all know that.
So congratulations, President Obama, I’m behind you 100% on this one. That’s one in row.
Tim Nerenz is the Libertarian Party Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin's 2nd District. To support Dr. Tim's campaign, please visit the campaign website at www.timnerenz.com