Paul Ryan and medical marijuana

Paul Ryan surprised a lot of people (and probably caused some heartburn for Mitt Romney) when he said that the states should be allowed to decide on medical marijuana. The Romney campaign quickly clarified Ryan’s statement to make the Republican nominee’s position clear.

The refreshing thing about Ryan is his honesty. If you ask him what his position is on an issue, he will tell you. The problem is that Ryan is not the nominee, so he will need to be more disciplined in not going off the reservation. The Romney campaign will need to strike a balance so that Ryan continues to be honest but is also disciplined in subordinating his opinions to Romney’s when the two differ.

I agree with Ryan, and I would go farther – take the federal government out of it and allow the states to decide whether to allow medical marijuana or even decriminalize it entirely. That said, I dislike this issue for two reasons.

First, it is dishonest. The goal of the medical marijuana movement is clearly full decriminalization of cannabis, but done incrementally. Rather than be honest and push for full decriminalization (or at least make it clear that is the end goal) they’re being deceitful and trying to get a foot in the door. I hate these kinds of games.

Second (and more importantly) smoked marijuana is simply bad medicine. Puff for puff, smoked marijuana is more carcinogenic than tobacco smoke. A new study shows that there is a significant ink between marijuana and testicular cancer. There are other legal means of getting the main ingredient in marijuana other than smoking it. Rather than expose people to the negative health effects of marijuana, we should have the main ingredient delivered in a safer way.

It boils down to this: Exploiting sick people for the purpose of advancing a political agenda is wrong. Again, I agree with decriminalizing marijuana. I certainly do not believe that criminalizing marijuana is any of the federal government’s business. However, it is simply unethical to use medical marijuana as the proverbial Trojan horse for the purpose of getting full legalization, giving false hope to sick people.

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