By Jake Barnett, published on MNdaily.com
As an advocate of the full legalization of marijuana, I find it interesting that the arguments chosen by Chelsey Johnson in her Nov. 11 letter to the editor — “Rethinking medical marijuana” — are so bureaucratic.
Criticizing U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards seems odd. When has FDA certification stopped drugs from killing people? As does “product quality.” The only difference between marijuana plants is THC potency levels. Do we really care whether people buy regular or extra-strength Tylenol?
The fact that drug-related crime in California and Colorado has gone down seems to have flown by her. And the fact that thousands of cancer and AIDS patients are seeing significant quality of life benefits apparently doesn’t matter either.
The government should have no real authority to tell people what they can put in their bodies as long as they are not endangering anyone else. How would Johnson, or any of the other drug crusaders for that matter, feel if next week the FDA decided that alcohol was illegal again?
The same reasons that alcohol prohibition was a bad idea apply to all other drugs as well.
Prohibition creates dangerous black markets, encourages organized crime and violence, and fills expensive prisons.
Ultimately, and most importantly, prohibition tells people they do not own their own bodies. So, the next time Johnson tosses back a drink to cure “chronic pain,” I think she should examine her situation and ask how she would feel if the police response to that sip of beverage was to hit her with a Taser and throw her in a squad car.
That is the risk every cancer patient takes in Minnesota when they light up a joint to ease their mind and make that cheeseburger just a little more appealing.