Letter to the Editor

Where's the compassion now?

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

To the editor:

What happened to compassionate conservatives? Clearly they weren't paying attention to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled 6-3 Monday to maintain federal anti-drug policies and ignore states rights in the case of Gonzales v. Raich.

Angel Raich has brain cancer and was prescribed marijuana as a way to allieviate her pain. She followed the letter of California law and did not profit beyond treating her condition.

The traditional avenue through which the feds intervene in the marijuana industry is interstate commerce: Pot grown in state A can cross to state B and be sold, affecting the overall cost of the black-market plant. Despite the lack of interstate commerce -- Raich could show that the pot was homegrown and was not sold or bartered -- the government argued that her garden-grown pot would affect "overall production."

In a government dominated by the compassionate conservative, no one finds it insulting that state laws can get spit on and the seriously ill can be denied medicine because it might make federal drug policy look bad?

A compassionate person would know that keeping medicine, controversial or not, from seriously ill persons isn't compassionate. A conservative person would know that the federal government ignoring state laws because they don't agree with them isn't conservative. And any American knows that ignoring the voters decision -- California's Compassionate Use Act was adopted by a voter referendum -- isn't American. I'm writing U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson next to say just that. Will any compassionate conservatives join me?