For medicinal use only

Despite the battle the Republicans and Democrats are waging in Florida over who will become the next president, one item both parties agree on is to continue the ill-fated war on drugs. Millions of citizens go to jail for possessing a few grams of marijuana, and our government recently offered over a billion dollars to help fund “Plan Colombia,” a mix of military aid and economic development to stem the flow of illicit drugs from Colombia. The Supreme Court will indirectly be entering into this fray, agreeing to hear on Monday a case regarding medical marijuana, which appears to be able to treat a variety of ailments and is particularly useful for terminally ill people. The court’s decision will be an important statement, that will not only affect the legality of restrictive drug laws, but will also bring forth a new aspect of America’s long relationship with marijuana.
History has shown that prohibition does not work. The mentality that America has embraced about drugs is based on fears of the unknown and various stereotypes, rather than hard facts. This has led to a slanted view on the possible medical uses of marijuana. Opposition abounds even in regard to simply researching the possible benefits of the drug. This is an attitude that must change. America can no longer be stagnant, held back by old fears and biases.
This case originates from a California ballot initiative passed legalizing medical marijuana in 1996. The Supreme Court must decide if “medical necessity” of marijuana outweighs federal laws that bar the distribution of the drug. Federal regulations regarding marijuana have always been a confusing myriad of laws, and letting the Supreme Court have its say will allow some consistency to be injected into the government’s position. As soon as it reviews the case, the Supreme Court should see the government’s flawed position and allow American citizens who have seen the destructive affects of the drug war up close to speak. California citizens, through the ballot box, have spoken. Their voice should be respected.