26
Mar
10

Spreads like a weed

File under political irony:

I may have been overreaching in my last post, when I lumped the anti-health care idiots to those who plan to fight against legalizing the demon weed in California.   Then again, connections spring forth in all kinds of strange ways.

You know how the same people who couldn’t care less about violating the constitution when it came to putting us all under permanent surveillance are now up in arms about our precious, fragile constitution when it comes to providing health care (in a very limited way) to poor people?  And they’re so angry about it that they’ve been mobilizing a collective effort to challenge the constitutionality of the reform bill?

Turns out, they’ve been outthunk by themselves.  And it’s all because of the demon weed.  The 6-3 decision by our cartoonish U.S. Supreme Court in the Gonzalez v. Raich case establishes the Federal Government’s right to regulate marijuana grown in the home for personal consumption.  On the basis that homegrown has some kind of tenuous connection to commerce.  Sounds pretty ridiculous, right?  Speaking of ridiculous, here’s the argument from the majority opinion written by Antonin Scalia:

Even “non-economic local activity” can come under federal regulation if it is “a necessary part of a more general regulation of interstate commerce.”

I’m no legal expert, but I’ve been watching Scalia long enough to understand that just about everything he writes or says is wrong, so I’m going to put aside my “ignorance of the law” excuse for the moment and call that a pretty stupid argument.

On the other hand, though, since Scalia’s opinions so rarely offer any reason for celebration, I’m going to take a moment to enjoy the fact that the above-referenced stupid opinion – designed, no doubt, as another brick in the wall of marijuana prohibition – is what’s going to put all of those anti-health care reform lawsuits to bed.  Here’s the link to the full article, but this paragraph sums it up:

[T]his week, Obama administration lawyers pointed to Scalia’s opinion as supporting the constitutionality of broad federal regulation of health insurance, and most legal experts agreed.  In the healthcare legislation, signed by the president Tuesday, Congress required virtually all Americans to have health insurance beginning in 2014…Legislators argued that the “individual mandate” was necessary because it would undercut the insurance market if individuals could just opt out of having health insurance…The court’s ruling in the 2005 case, Gonzales vs. Raich, “is an enormous problem” for those who contend the healthcare mandate is unconstitutional, said Simon Lazarus, a lawyer for the Washington, D.C.-based National Senior Citizens Law Center.  “It clearly says Congress has vast regulatory authority over interstate commerce,” he said.

That law stuff is tricky.  It can cut you when you least expect it.  You can take that jay away from cancer patients, but once BlueCross gets their cut they’ll just get it right back.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Spreads like a weed”


  1. March 27, 2010 at 1:44 am

    scalia’s a dick for sure. I watched him refuse to answer a kid’s question once because the topic of the forum didn’t include the question’s subject. What an asshole.

    I suppose there’s the thought that even if legalization occurs in CA the federal government will stomp it down. But that misses the fact that big pharma is actually the hidden force behind this quickly moving train. They’ve got trillions of dollars of profit waiting in the pipeline with their new cannabinoid drugs. The government simply won’t have the money or the corporate master’s authority to stomp down on something that is already happening full scale via prop 215.

    That’s all besides that fact that legalization is the best way to break apart the prison and police lobbies – which I think we can all agree have gotten a bit out of hand during the last decade 😉 There is really so much more to this scene than people are really giving creedence in my mind.

  2. March 27, 2010 at 1:55 am

    oh did I forget to mention that once the new cannabinoid drugs for weight loss, cancer, pain, alzheimers, ms, bacterial infections, infertility, thermoregulation, depression and the like are released there really won’t be all that much “healthcare” needed anymore. So, now, since they have a good steady paycheck coming in from the masses they can now let loose of the secret medicine.

    Well that’s just my crazy opinion anyway. I kind of hope I’m wrong. Well no, not really.

    • March 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm

      As someone who has faced my own share of raised eyebrows and charges of paranoia, I have a soft spot in my head heart for conspiracy theorists – so rage on, Nico. You could be right. It may well turn out that legalization favors our corporate overlords disproportionately, but that doesn’t have to be the way it turns out. Public moods are always difficult to gauge correctly, and I could be wrong, but I sense a growing dissatisfaction with the current iteration of corporate culture across in the U.S., and the political efforts to re-regulate banking, health care and big Pharma may produce some positive results.

      It’s true there was plenty of the same kind of hand-wringing going on about the loss of Mom-and-Pop stores that formed the heart of small town main street culture by the very people who then drove to the outskirts of those towns to buy family-sized packs of cheap, Chinese-made tube socks from Walmart, so it could be just more sound and fury. Then again, the medical marijuana laws are pretty much being written as we speak, by the people who have flourished from the illegal economy, so things might shake out differently. This battle hasn’t been lost yet. We could advocate for the shape of the new marijuana economy; or, I suppose, we could sit back and watch agribusiness take it over. Or maybe both elements can coexist peacefully – Gallo is the biggest U.S. wine producer, and they play hardball as well as anyone, but their success didn’t stop the money from flowing into Napa. And, it’s worth remembering that Gallo wasn’t trying to separate health benefits from intoxicants the way big Pharma has to pretend to do. Things will surely look very different in the future, but I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that our local economy is doomed.

      And, as you say, the human toll in lives destroyed by aggressive policing, incarceration and misguided criminal prosecutions may be the most overlooked element of the larger discussion. If the only good thing that comes from all of this is that we stop criminalizing non-threatening behavior, that’ll be a huge improvement to the current situation. And hey, we can always get jobs at Walmart.

  3. 4 Kym
    March 27, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I hope that you’ve had a chance to read the North Coast Journal’s piece “Welcome to Pot City” I quoted you in it. Thank you.

    • March 27, 2010 at 1:06 pm

      No, no; thank you – I think you picked out my finest paragraph. It’s a terrific article, and I hope everyone sees it. You raise exactly the issues that voters and activists and residents should be focusing on. I was struck, though (as always) by the negative tone of the comments in response. I don’t want to pass judgement on the community as a whole, especially because I really haven’t been living here long enough to do that in any accurate way, but I keep coming across a sort of reactionary negativity that strikes me as unnecessarily self-defeating, and it’s something that I see reflected in the 19th century writing from this area that I’ve been reviewing (for other reasons). Maybe I’m just projecting a 19th century attitude onto the present. I hope. Good luck proving me wrong.

  4. 6 Kym
    March 28, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I’ve noticed that comments as a whole tend to be negative (though not usually on my blog–I think cause I started out as a family friend site and expanded so at first everyone was kind and I encouraged that type of response) I hope that is because people who are negative are more likely to comment. Those who agree don’t have much to add to the conversation–or at least think they don’t.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: