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Supreme Court Rules Against the Sick

by STEW ALBERT

The Supreme Court says federal law takes precedent over state law and so government agents can break in on pot smoking cancer or HIV patients and arrest them. They can do this even if state laws allow the use of medical marijuana under the directions of a doctor. It seems everyday we must ask ourselves just how far the George Bush Cruelty State can and will go. It’s not enough to lie the country into war, or steal from the poor for the ravenous benefit of the super rich, now sick dying people can be arrested for smoking weed in order to alleviate their crushing misery.

A few years back my old friend Anita Hoffman, former wife of Abbie, lay dying of cancer. The murderous disease started out in her breast and spread to her bones. She was a goner and she knew it. My wife and I visited with her in San Francisco and she was sinking fast. She was in considerable pain and suffered from nausea. She fought these horrors by smoking pot kindly provided to her by two woman who grew it and were attempting to develop strains of pot that were especially aimed at helping ease the pain and suffering sick.

Did the marijuana help? It certainly did. Getting a bit high eased Anita’s pain and the nausea. Indeed she was even able to eat a few bites of food and her mood, humor and sociability improved considerably. Medical pot could not save her life but it made her last days easier and she was much more able to relate to visiting friends and family.

Now a two-thirds majority of the Supreme Court says the Bush Justice Department would have had the right to arrest Anita on her death bed. And it would have come to that because Anita didn’t need laws to tell her she had a right to do whatever was necessary to keep herself together at the end of her life.

I can remember a hopeful time when I visited a medical marijuana club in Los Angeles. It was where sick people came to obtain pot if they had the equivalent of a doctor’s prescription. It was also the place where an unbelievable amount of tenderly cared for, appropriately fed and warmed marijuana was grown. Besides the presence of fields of growing weed what most stuck out in my mind was the startling appearance of an LA cop. For a moment I thought the joint was being raided, but how could that be, since the club was operating legally under California law? It turned out the cop benevolently was there to talk with a club member who had earlier been mugged in the street. But all that was before the Welfare State was replaced by its mocking opposite. That was when the suffering Anitas of California didn’t have to worry that they might wind up being handcuffed by Feds to their death beds.

STEW ALBERT runs the Yippie Reading Room. His memoir, Who the Hell is STEW ALBERT?, is just out from Red Hen Press. He can be reached at: stewa@aol.com

 

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