WASHINGTON - Gov. George Bush said he backs a state's right to decide whether to allow medical use of marijuana, a position that puts him sharply at odds with Republicans on Capitol Hill. "I believe each state can choose that decision as they so choose," the governor said recently in Seattle in response to a reporter's question.
Chuck Thomas, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a medical marijuana lobbying group, praised Mr. Bush as "courageous" and "consistent on states' rights. I would hope he would be an example for Republicans in Congress."
Aides said Mr. Bush does not support legalizing marijuana for medical use. But his position supporting state self-determination opens the door to medical marijuana use in some places. President Clinton and most Republican lawmakers, by contrast, oppose all state medical marijuana legalization laws, saying they could lead to abuse.
States Rights are a big GOP issue, I thought.
President-elect George W. Bush hosted 18 Republican governors at his ranch Saturday, thanked them for their support, and pledged to make education and respect for states' rights priorities in his administration.
Shouldn't Mr Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft be consistant?
Attorney General Ashcroft is nonetheless an easy target. He heads the Justice Department of an Administration that claims to value the sovereignty of states as well as the states' ability to embrace priorities that are distinct from those of the national government. In fact, the man who selected Ashcroft would not be in office were it not for an electoral approach that subordinates the will of the majority of the populace to the will of a group that more closely approximates the wishes of the states.(italics mine)
When Ashcroft and the Bush Administration do not like what the states are doing, however, then their skepticism about federal supremacy seems to undergo a transformation. If California believes in medical marijuana, then California must be beaten into submission. Even if one does not accept the notion of a state's "right," one can still point a finger at those who do and who nonetheless go ahead and violate that putative right.
The quote above came from an article by Sherry F.Colb on FindLaw's Legal Commentary. A really thoughtful read.
I'm hoping that you are familiar with the case of Ed Rosenthal (please give that link a look). Here is a transcript of Ed and Stone Phillips on Dateline, a tv show on NBC that will offer you some background. As will this current article. Bottom line: Mr Rosenthal, propagated and grew cannabis plants for distribution to sick people while acting as an agent of the city of Oakland California , as was legalized at the state level by proposition 215; he was arrested, charged and tried and the jury never was made aware of his legal status.
Mr. Rosenthal, who raised marijuana in an Oakland warehouse, was acting within state and local law. California's Proposition 215, which voters approved in a 1996 referendum, permits marijuana use by seriously ill people. In addition, Oakland has its own medical marijuana law, and Mr. Rosenthal was acting as an officer of the city. Nevertheless, the judge refused to allow the defense to mention any of this at his trial, since it is not a valid defense against federal drug charges.
A new find, Bully magazine had a good piece on the Rosenthal case as well.
The Wo/Mens Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Santa Cruz California are, in concert with the City and County of Santa Cruz sueing DEA agents individually as well as the Federal government.
These cases highlight the weight of Constitutional and states rights arguments that will be brought to bear.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has some interesting thoughts on our Constitution and the Rights it affords we citizens:
Scalia said the more irresponsible and violent a society becomes, the more citizens' freedoms will be restricted. He said that U.S. citizens tend to interpret the Constitution as giving them more power than the document provides. I will enforce the constitutional minimums,'' Scalia said. But they are minimums. You've got to realize that.''
PATRIOTWATCHERS remember Scalia made almost the exact same statement last month:
"Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia underscored that point in a March 18 speech at John Carroll University in suburban Cleveland. "The Constitution just sets minimums," he said, according to the Associated Press. "Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires."
You'll have to scroll down to that May 12 posting at Patriotwatch.
So we have Scalia wanting us to have a minimum of Constitutionally protected rights. Rick Santorum proudly stating :
Mr. Santorum, who did not speak in public today, has refused to apologize and said that his remarks were more directed at the right to privacy rather than homosexuality. He said his position was shared by a majority of the Supreme Court in upholding a Georgia antisodomy law in 1986.
How do other Republicans weigh in on privacy?
"For the past two years - two years! - two of President Bush's judicial nominees, Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen, have been maligned and smeared by Senate Democrats who have ignored their superb and celebrated legal careers.
The reason? Neither nominee has endorsed the ambiguous "right to privacy" that abortion supporters declare is to be found in the U.S. Constitution."
I got that from Seeing the Forest too, just a different days posting. He also speaks of a Joe Conason piece that mentions judicial nominee Kuhn as having the same frightening attitude. An attitude that is far flung in the Republican party as well as in its Republican applications:
...is that it allows for a blanket drug test of anyone involved in any extracurricular program, even the debate team, followed up by random tests throughout the school year. The Bush administration's solicitor general, Ted Olsen, even contended that the government would be in favor of mandatory tests of entire student bodies.
O.K, so I start talking about The present White House administration and marijuana and tie the entry up with a member of the Bush administration and piss tests. Sort of circular. Pretty cool, eh?
But there's more.
Let's just get with Mr Ashcroft for just a moment. Mr Ashcroft will send our Constitutional rights down the road straightaway, no questions asked; we're talking the PATRIOT act here folks... well, if it's gun rights that might be a bit of a different story. Remember 9/11, the "inspiration" or at least the excuse given (please read link) for the PATRIOT act? Well Mr Ashcroft, the guy who spent 8000 dollars to cover up the exposed breast of the Spirit of Justice also used his power to cover any terrorist/gun buyer connections:
In the effort to root out terrorists, it seems the Justice Department may roll over any part of the Bill of Rights except the Second Amendment. Even during intense questioning by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ashcroft unapologetically refused to support giving the FBI access to the background checks. The display gave us a true picture of our attorney general and his willingness to sacrifice potentially important intelligence on terrorists rather than offend the National Rifle Association.
But he would stand by at least 1200 folks right to privacy when they were picked up in post 9/11 sweeps; a right to privacy that kept their families- and lawyers -in the dark about their whereabouts.
Mr Ashcroft effectively canned the Freedom Of Information Request procedure that makes our Democracy a bit more transparent:
First, the administration scuttled the Freedom of Information Act. On Oct. 12, Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a memo to all federal agencies urging them to resist new FOIA requests. When investigative journalists and watchdog groups request public records that might implicate government officials, they may discover that their applications are indefinitely stonewalled.
Then the administration tried to overturn the Presidential Records Act, which allows public access to all presidential papers. On Nov. 1, 2001, President Bush issued an executive order that gave himself the power to seal all presidential records since 1980. Although historians and journalists are fighting Bush's order in federal court, it may take years before the judiciary strikes down this executive violation of congressional legislation.
Ever since the Watergate scandal, the Freedom of Information and Presidential Records acts have allowed us to hold our government accountable. Even though classified documents are never released to the public, the Bush administration is now using the war on terrorism as a pretext for preventing disclosure of all public records
Yup, the last part of the quote wasn't pertinent to what we have been talking about- but it is pertinent to the preservation of Democracy. How many of us hear about such underhanded actions? Bush and company lied to us about Iraq and it's WOMD program, it's involvement in 9/11 was only insinuated , thats' no lie. But will Mr Bush and his White House lie about the circumstances of 9/11 to save their collective carreers, asses, administration? Senator Graham thinks so.
You get the sense of what I want to point out. It's late and I'm getting far afield. When you put the present regimes actions and words together there is a lack of consistancy. Their words tend to fit the situation and serve only their aims, merely giving lipservice to truth. They speak to power and control. We need to listen well and talk with others to preserve our freedoms. Freedom is something claimed, not granted. There is nothing passive about being free.