Monday, March 20, 2017
Now that the voters of Arkansas in their all too conventional wisdom have approved a Medical Marijuana Amendment, why not a Medical Tobacco Amendment to go with it? For some of us old-timers can still recall those ads that claimed smoking wasn't a danger at all but, on the contrary, offered a positive benefit for whatever ailed you.
There will always be those who will find reasons to go along with We the People's dumbest decisions (ahem, "medical" marijuana) and use legalese to dress up their case for not speaking truth to popular power. Such as Jeremy Hutchinson, a state senator from Little Rock. Sure, says Senator Hutchinson, he'd like to ban smoking marijuana, but he claims the people have spoken, he can read their intentions, and so he's powerless to do the right thing. If supporters of medical marijuana sued, he predicts, they'd win. So why wait around for a formal opinion from a court of law when the state can do the wrong thing right now?
Senator Hutchinson may not remember the words of an English parliamentarian named Edmund Burke who told the electors of his constituency: "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment, and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion." Four of the largest states in America, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Minnesota, all used their best judgment to ban the smoking of "medical" marijuana, no doubt due to the high concentration of carcinogens.
Another legislator in this state, state Representative David Sanders of Little Rock, says there's a way to ban smoking medical marijuana in Arkansas, and he aims to find it. "I think there is a method where we can do this," he says.
But what if the opposition sues? Then let it sue and be damned. Why expect and thus encourage the worst in our bar, our fellow citizens, and in ourselves? Linda Chesterfield, a state senator from Little Rock, sounds ready to give up this struggle here and now. Contrary to Edmund Burke's historic words, she would surrender a principle rather than fight for it. After all, she says, "the voters told us what they wanted," and "I urge you not to substitute your will for theirs." In that case, why have legislators at all when all questions of public interest might better be resolved by popular referenda? Our own considered opinion is that it's better to go down fighting than never to have fought at all.
The law is a great teacher, and may even teach the wrong lessons on occasion, but why hurry it? And even if the law in its majesty has reached the wrong conclusions on many an historic occasion, as in the Dred Scott decision that called human slaves only chattel, and in Roe v. Wade, the constitutional charter for killing the unborn, then have faith the law will change its mind, and someday we shall overcome.
Editorial on 03/20/2017
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