The Utah Legislature soon will be in session and the controversial subject of medical marijuana will be front and center. On one side of the debate will be State Senator Mark Madsen and his bill to legalize certain marijuana products to relieve chronic pain. On the other side of the debate will be a Senate colleague, Evan Vickers, and a House colleague, Brad Daw. They will introduce an alternative bill that focuses more on the real science involved and less on pot-induced pain relief.
There is at least one more opinion in this debate – mine…and I say ‘do nothing.’ Keep pot illegal.
Defenders of legalizing pot, to the degree Senator Madsen’s bill does, get the policy wrong, get the underlying philosophy of freedom wrong and, in the process, use purposefully deceptive rhetoric. One ideologue recently said of the alternative legislation to be introduced by Vickers and Daw, “in reality it is a death sentence for tens of thousands of Utahns.” That’s crazy talk. Only in the delusional minds of libertarian ideologues and dedicated potheads does marijuana cure any illness. Nobody dies from not smoking pot.
The Madsen bill is a curious piece of self-serving legislation. As Senator Madsen has explained publicly many times, he suffers from chronic back pain. While on an opioid patch to reduce pain, he quit breathing. Only the quick thinking of his observant wife saved his life. Since then, Madsen has been a crusader for legalizing marijuana – for now, in the form of medical marijuana.
Against federal law, Madsen travels to Colorado, obtains THC-laced gummy bears and brings them back to Utah where he consumes them to relieve his chronic back pain. Technically a criminal, much more so than any undocumented immigrants he opposes, only a sympathetic Obama Administration keeps his open disregard of federal law from the courts.
To soothe his conscience as much as his back pain, Madsen wants his behavior legalized. Curiously, Madsen’s pot bill adds “chronic pain” to the list of terminal and devastating illnesses most cited as benefitting from marijuana. In other words, a person can express chronic pain to a physician and receive a prescription to “ingest” pot products.
In this debate, Madsen and I share one thing in common: Both of us suffer from chronic back pain. The legal alternatives to consuming pot products for chronic pain are surgery, visits to a chiropractor, pain pills, exercise or a combination thereof. I chose a chiropractor at Corner Canyon in Draper near my home and visit him regularly – probably not as much as Madsen pops gummy bears but a lot. You see, both Madsen and I are addressing chronic pain. The difference in our approaches is at least I also have a chance to solve my back pain by visiting the chiropractor. Madsen could pop 40 gummy bears a day and still not solve his back problem.
So Madsen’s bill would allow someone with chronic pain to “ingest” a pot product. I’m quite sure the reason his bill doesn’t allow someone to “inhale” a pot product is, like former President Bill Clinton, Madsen doesn’t inhale. He’s a Latter-day Saint and wants to obey the faith’s Word of Wisdom which, at this point, prohibits inhaling any smoke product, especially a mind-altering drug.
If Madsen were principled on this issue, he would introduce a true medical marijuana bill. He thinks his bill maintains the spirit of limited government – patient/doctor relationships, he says. Forget the new bureaucracy his bill would create. Forget that nobody under the influence of pot is a truly free human being. Folks, no manner of sophistry should convince sane people that even ingesting pot products is the spirit of limited government.
Madsen and his zealous minions lobbying on this bill quote all sorts of specious “research” funded by the pot crowd. They’ll lump you in with the “Reefer Madness” frenzy and then shame you for not being a rational human being. They’ll shamelessly share story after story of people who have been “saved” by pot. Ultimately, they’ll tell you using pot is about freedom. They pull out all the stops with their deceptive rhetoric. Don’t fall for it.
Understanding Madsen’s pot bill is this simple: The good senator seeks to rationalize and justify his own personal behavior. It’s nothing more than that. It’s the definition of a special interest bill. His bill is not about the relatively few Utahns suffering from terminal or devastating illnesses – nobody has any issue with carving out exceptions in the law for those few souls. This bill is about him. Against the better judgment of Utah public health officials and Utah’s medical community, he wants his conscience to feel as good as his back when he sucks down THC-laced pot products – pretty sad and selfish behavior from one of the good guys.
Previously broadcast on KVNU for the people. Reposted with permission.