Backwards Missouri Persecutes the Ailing

On the Sunday March 30 front page of the Kansas City Star there was a fine article by Don Bradley headlined “Prescription for a change?” The online version of the article appeared the day before with this headline: “Marijuana raid in Bates County illustrates the evolution of an issue.”

The story begins when an elderly gentleman lights up a joint in his own house and is interrupted by the authorities. The man suffers from “a rare and severe form of glaucoma” and, like many Americans, is trying to save his sight with weed. Is that so monstrous? He wasn’t doing anything our president hasn’t done.

But the problem for this rural Missourian is that he was growing his own. So the authorities seized some 41 plants he was cultivating in his basement, growing lights, and his grandfather’s pipe collection. What’s also galling is that they seized his guns. So, living out in the woods as he is, he can’t protect himself and his wife. His wife lost her job due to the raid.

The article didn’t say who the authorities were, so I emailed Mr. Bradley and he emailed me back: “It was a Missouri rural drug task force and the Bates County Sheriff's Office.”

But were these local boys enforcing Missouri law or federal law? If they were enforcing federal law, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should be coming down hard on Missouri law enforcement.After all, Holder didn’t want Arizona’s local constabularyto enforce federal immigration law.

Bradley’s article goes on to give character references for our pot smoker, like this one:

The couple’s pharmacist in the nearby town of Drexel, Mo., thinks the whole thing is ridiculous.

“They are good people and he found a treatment that works for him,” said Mark Finke at Drexel Pharmacy. “I fully support them. He has tried things I have here, but nothing works for glaucoma like marijuana and you would be hard-pressed to find a doctor to say otherwise.

“He wasn’t hurting anyone. I have drugs in here like OxyContin that are legal and they kill someone every day.”

Bradley does an excellent job of summarizing the debate in the medical community about the efficacy of medical marijuana. And he also relates the stories of other families with other illnesses that respond to marijuana. One man even plans to move to Colorado, where pot is now legal.

Full disclosure: I don’t use marijuana. The most powerful narcotic I use is the one Busch Light I sip at 5 PM each afternoon while I watch Bret on Fox News. But if I were losing my sight, I’d use anything I could to retard that loss, even a little ditch weed.

Read Bradley’s article.

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

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