You don’t get to vote on science.
It’s not a democratic arena.
In the realm of science and medicine, we discover, we don’t dictate.
Which is something the New York state legislature doesn’t seem to be aware of.
At issue is the so-called Compassionate Care Act. Less about compassion and more about getting stoned, it is the legislation that would make “medical marijuana” legal in New York. With the legislative session winding down, pressure is building to get the act passed.
There was some upset this week when the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that it had contracted to purchase a chemical derivative of marijuana for trials on its effectiveness in the treatment of juvenile epilepsy. That was troubling to activists because they considered it too restrictive both in terms of the marijuana used and the ailments treated.
Instead of one derivative and one disease, they envision all things marijuana arrayed against a broad range of afflictions, from diabetes to post-traumatic stress disorder, nausea to eczema.
They want the state to declare marijuana a legal and authorized treatment for a whole range of difficulties.
But that’s where science gets in the way.
And that’s where their ignorance and arrogance trip them up.
Because, online petitions notwithstanding, marijuana is not medicinal. And we don’t determine the efficacy of a medicine by popular vote. All the world may believe that stump water cures warts, and you can apply all the stump water you wish, but you’re still going to have warts.
Likewise, your earnest wish and legislative proclamation can’t make marijuana actually do anybody any good.
You may declare marijuana medicinal, much as earlier rulers declared the world flat, but in the absence of genuine scientific proof, you will be wrong.
Oh, there are lots of stories, any number of anecdotal cures, and countless webpages.
But no evidence.
And no federal approval.
And that’s significant, because in America, drugs must be proven safe and effective through rigorous trials before they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
And that hasn’t happened for marijuana.
Not for any disorder under any circumstances.
Yes, two chemical derivatives have been approved for minor applications. One of them may be useful for easing juvenile seizures.
But that’s it.
Everything beyond that is pure speculation and wishful thinking with no basis whatsoever in the scientific method or medical evidence.
Belief in medical marijuana is a modern superstition or folklore, with as much basis in reality as alien abductions and astrology.
And it is troubling that this one supposed drug would be treated differently than every other potential medicine in our society. We take years reviewing the simplest of medicines, we sue pharmaceutical companies that make the smallest of mistakes, we are skeptical of everything from vaccines to genetically modified grain.
But we’ll rubber stamp the treatment of countless maladies with marijuana without giving it a second thought.
There is no scientific justification for that.
And there may be much calamity.
If New York declares marijuana a medicine by legislative dictate – as opposed to by medical discovery – then New York better be ready to pay for a lot of medical marijuana.
Because the largest payer for health care in New York is the taxpayer.
And when you say marijuana treats patients, you better be ready for your tax money to be paying for that treatment.
For both Medicaid patients and prison inmates.
If you declare it a medicine, people will use it for medicine. It will become the standard of care. Then some inmate or welfare recipient is going to complain that you aren’t providing them with this medicine. That leaves you about one lawsuit away from having your tax dollars buying pot for the entitled and the imprisoned.
And it still won’t be medicine.
At the root of this is dishonesty.
People just want to get stoned. Instead of saying so – and having a conversation about the legalization of recreational marijuana – we are talking about cancer and compassion and kids.
Which is all crap.
Recreational marijuana is, from a libertarian standpoint, something worth considering.
Medical marijuana is, from a medical and financial standpoint, a fool’s errand.