The war on drugs hasn't even accomplished what it promised to do. Drugs are abundant and cheaper than ever. "ABC News" reported last month, "marijuana is the U.S.'s most valuable crop. The report, 'Marijuana Production in the United States,' by marijuana policy researcher Jon Gettman, concludes that despite massive eradication efforts at the hands of the federal government, 'marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the national economy.'"
The destructive failure of the drug war is why it makes so much sense to let states experiment, which 11 of them have done with medical marijuana.
Legalizing only medical marijuana brings its own problems. For one thing, it invites state authorities to monitor the practice of medicine to make sure doctors don't prescribe pot promiscuously.
But government officials shouldn't be the judges of what is and isn't medicine. That should be left to medical researchers, doctors, and patients. The effectiveness of medicine is too dependent on individual circumstances and biochemistry. One size does not fit all, so politicians and bureaucrats should butt out.
More fundamentally, why should only people whom the state defines as sick be able to use marijuana? This is supposed to be a free country, and in a free country adults should have the right to ingest whatever they want. A drug user who harms someone else should be punished, but a peaceful user should be left alone.
Despite my reservations about medical marijuana, the states' experimentation is still better than a brutal federal one-size-fits-all crackdown. There is no role here for the federal government. If the people of a state want to experiment by loosening drug prohibition, that should be their right. Washington should mind its own business. The feds and rest of us should watch. We might learn something.