This November the citizens of Michigan will be voting for an Attorney General. The two candidates are Schuette and Leyton. One of the biggest issues which patients in Michigan and the city of Detroit are wondering about is the candidates’ position on marijuana. Patients are concerned because the candidates’ are not making their opinions clear.
At a fundraiser which was sponsored by a medical marijuana compassion club Leyton responded to a question about his position on medical marijuana. He said “It’s the law, isn’t it? It’s my job to enforce the law.” However, during a recent debate with Schuette, Leyton refused to give any answer when asked about his position on medical marijuana.
Schuette responded to the same question announcing that he opposes medical marijuana. Electing an Attorney General who does not support a voter enacted law is a serious problem. The current AG Mike Cox has repeatedly refused to represent the patients who are protected by this law. Electing another AG who does not support the voters is not a good idea.
While Leyton may not be giving a straight answer it does not mean he is opposed. It is very difficult for politicians to support a controversial issue during election time. As a patient I believe Leyton is a better choice for Michigan and Detroit because too much tax payer dollars are wasted on prosecuting patients and non-violent people who enjoy marijuana.
In California a state which is said to be bankrupt the Governor recently signed a new law which will take effect the first of the year. The law will stop the arrest of people in possession of a small amount of marijuana; it will now be only a civil infraction with a small fine. This stops the large amounts of funds wasted on jailing and prosecuting marijuana smokers and patients.
Recently I spoke with Tim Beck one of Michigan’s biggest advocates for patients’ rights. I asked him why the proposition to legalize a small amount of marijuana for personal use in Detroit was not able to be put on the ballot. He explained to me the reason had nothing to do with any particular law; it’s all “about who’s in power” at the time. While this may be the reality of the situation, the fact that voters are not going to be allowed to decide is a problem.
Before Proposal 1 was passed by voters in every Michigan county a number of cities had already created laws to protect patients. The election commission and a judge who heard the case say the Detroit proposal is not able to be put on the ballot because of a conflict with other laws. This is not reasonable; if it is the case then voters would never be able to overturn any law, no matter how unreasonable, outdated, or scientifically proven wrong.
Voters have the right to decide if they want to legalize marijuana in their city, state, and country. Yet, even in the 21st century with science backing the medical value of marijuana there are still those who oppose it based on outdated moral assumptions. The fact is marijuana has medical value. More importantly, the Attorney General elected in November needs to have a solid position which protects the rights of patients and all citizens.
Here is a quote from 1988 that sums up the facts. This quote is from 1988 and yet in 2010 we are still struggling with marijuana.
“Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” – Drug Enforcement Agency, Administrative Law
Judge Francis L. Young (1988).