Kathleen Parker

I've got that all-over tingly feeling not felt since Martha Stewart was put away and America's mean streets made safe again.

I'm talking, of course, about Monday's Supreme Court ruling against state-sanctioned medical marijuana use that will keep the terminally ill and chronic pain sufferers from firing up a marijuana joint, getting stoned and, in addition to risking acute munchies, enjoying a temporary reprieve from hellish suffering.

Thank G-d we've got that particular homeland security problem under control. Why, in the age of terror, one can never be too careful with dying people who have nothing left to lose.

With rulings like these, alas, comedy is doomed.

The high court's 6-3 decision, in fact, had little to do with whether suffering people deserve relief, but whether the federal government has authority over states that have authorized medical marijuana use. To date, 11 states have such laws: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

The court ruled that even though medical marijuana may be homegrown and not for sale, it nevertheless falls under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

While lawyers hash out the legal intricacies, normal people are left wondering whether the Supreme Court has been partaking of the evil weed. Exceptions would be dissenters Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas.

Who, after all, gets hurt when dying or sick people smoke pot?

Quick aside to the feds: When my spine is disintegrating from cancer and I'm blind from glaucoma and I can't take a breath without agonizing pain, I'm gonna toke up, OK? Just fyi.

It seems remote to ridiculous that federal agents now will start arresting sick people for getting high, though stranger things can and do happen. Who could have imagined the scene we witnessed when then-Attorney General Janet Reno decided it was time for little Elian Gonzalez to get on back to Cuba? (I supported Elian's return to his father, by the way, but I must have been stoned to think we could accomplish a family reunion without a SWAT team and automatic weapons.)

Ironically, the Supreme Court ruling follows a study by Harvard professor Jeffrey Miron recommending that the U.S. legalize and tax marijuana (prohibitioncosts.org). Endorsed by some 500 economists, including Milton Friedman, the report noted the high cost of marijuana prohibition - about $7.7 billion annually - and the boon to the economy that an estimated $6.2 billion per year in taxes would provide.


Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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