One issue where federal policy never seems to change is drug prohibition. Republican and Democratic presidents come and go, but the prohibitionists never leave. So it is now, with federal prosecutors and law enforcement continuing their foolish crusade to jail even the sick and dying who use marijuana.
Now two governors are calling on Washington to call off the dogs. Reports the New York Times:
The governors of Washington and Rhode Island petitioned the federal government on Wednesday to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses, saying the change is needed so states like theirs, which have decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes, can regulate the safe distribution of the drug without risking federal prosecution.
The move by the governors — Christine Gregoire of Washington, a Democrat, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, an independent who used to be a Republican — injected new political muscle into the long-running debate on the status of marijuana. Their states are among the 16 that now allow medical marijuana, but which have seen efforts to grow and distribute the drug targeted by federal prosecutors.
“The divergence in state and federal law creates a situation where there is no regulated and safe system to supply legitimate patients who may need medical cannabis,” the governors wrote Wednesday to Michele M. Leonhart, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The issue is not whether drug use is good or bad. The issue is putting people in jail just because someone in the government thinks drug use is good or bad. Prohibition failed when alcohol was the target. Prohibition is failing now when other drugs are the target.
It's time to stop criminalizing drug use by adults for any purpose. At the very least Washington should stop punishing people who are using marijuana as medicine. Just leave the states alone when they legalize medical marijuana. That should be simple enough!