The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events
September 22, 2002
President Ronald Reagan, much to the Left's
chagrin, used to refer to welfare queens, mothers who stayed on public
assistance for years and never attempted to become independent. If Arizona
voters approve Proposition 203 this November, we'll have welfare potheads.
Prop 203 requires Arizona's Department of
Public Safety to distribute marijuana to people who use it for medical
purposes. The pot would be shipped from the University of Mississippi and
held in three public buildings. Anyone with a valid registration card
could come down and receive no more than two ounces of pot.
A registration card would be given to those
who cite a medical need, even minors. A doctor's name, address, and phone
number are required on the application, as well as other information.
Those who possess the two ounces of weed for medical purposes cannot sell
it, or give it to others who may sell it. They are also not subject to
civil or criminal penalties for marijuana possession, if they possess just
two ounces. However, if caught with more than two ounces, they can plead
medical need in court.
I don't have much of an opinion on the
medical need for marijuana. I know several people swear it minimizes
debilitating side effects from treatments like chemotherapy, and eases the
pain of cancer and other serious illnesses. Some doctors agree, others
don't. It's pretty much a wash. Merely legalizing marijuana for medical
purposes is a much simpler issue.
This proposition makes the state a drug
dealer. It requires Arizona DPS, which should fight crimes, to engage in a
federal felony - distributing grass. Worse, it forces Arizona taxpayers to
fund the felony with their tax dollars. Worse than all that, though, it
creates a new class of welfare dependants. Simply put, potheads want on
the dole. They believe Arizona taxpayers should pay for their weed.
We could argue the wisdom of certain
policies in the proposition, but that's all beside the point. The last
thing we need is another special interest group suckling at the public
teat. I don't care which group it is - potheads, senior and their drugs,
big corporations and their subsidies. Especially at a time when Arizona
could be facing a $400 million deficit next year and a $1 billion
shortfall the year after.
The proposition does do some other things.
It changes possession of small amounts of weed to a civil violation with a
fine. It increases penalties for drug-related violent crimes. It removes
mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders. Finally, it
allows the government to confiscate property from offenders who have been
convicted, not from arrested suspects as happens now.
These should all be separate issues. I like
the change in confiscation laws. If you are arrested for a drug crime, the
government can confiscate any property you own that they think was related
to the crime, even if you are innocent. In essence, the government
punishes you for the arrest, before guilt or innocence is determined. This
is morally reprehensible and undoubtedly unconstitutional, though the
Supreme Court - to its shame - has given the practice its blessing.
If that were the only item, I'd vote for
Proposition 203. The proposition's central idea - welfare for potheads -
and a jumble of other issues make it too complicated and convoluted. So,
if you're an Arizona voter, please vote against it, even if you approve of