John McCain: Just Another Autocrat

Drug War Rant and Hit and Run pick up on John McCain's recent statements on a blogger conference call about medical marijuana. The question posed was:

"Should federal law supersede the will of the people in a given state when it comes to medical marijuana?"

McCain's answer:

McCain started chuckling. "The will of the people, my friend, is that medical marijuana is not something that the quote 'people' want," he responded. "Certain people feel strongly about this issue, and they show up at most town hall meetings, obviously feel very strongly about it. There is no convincing evidence...there's evidence, but no convincing evidence to me that medical marijuana relief of pain and suffering cannot be accomplished by prescriptions from doctors... So, when you're talking about the will of the people, you're going to have to show me the will of the people besides the will of a small number of people who feel very strongly about the issue, as obviously you do."


The questioner then pointed out that California voters had approved the use of medical marijuana.

"There may be times when the will of the people, for example Iraq, the will of the people, unfortunately is that we withdraw from Iraq immediately or very very soon," McCain shot back. "I don't share that view of the will of the people."


The will of the people isn't the will of the people, except when it is the will of the people, in which case my will is really the will of the people, whether they know it or not.

< McCain and Romney Aides on Rudy 's "Laugh Off" of Judith Regan Suit | Hillary Now Opposes Drivers' Licenses for the Undocumented >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    McCain has missed a whopping... (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by desertswine on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 10:36:44 AM EST
    53% of Senate votes since running for president.

    Missed votes:
    John McCain (R) - 53.1%
    Joseph Biden (D) - 35.4%
    Christopher Dodd (D) - 33.9%
    Barack Obama (D)- 33.7%
    Hillary Clinton (D) - 18.2%

    And for the House:
    Tom Tancredo (R) - 28.8%
    Ron Paul (R) - 22.7%
    Dennis Kucinich (D) - 10.8

    What do you expect from him? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 10:40:21 AM EST
    He's a busy guy. He has a full time job to do.

    Shilling for Bush.


    I've known (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by tnthorpe on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 12:31:48 PM EST
    too many people with AIDS who've benefitted enormously from medical marijuana to tolerate McCain's dismissive blather about convincing evidence. This is another example of big pharma and its big money hobbling democracy and good medical practice. If Congress weren't in big pharma's pockets they might, repeat might, be expected to do something about medical marijuana. The voters have, but then they can't be trusted since they can think for themselves.

    If Congress weren't in big pharma's pockets? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 01:12:06 PM EST
    Drug Lobby Second to None
    How the pharmaceutical industry gets its way in Washington
    WASHINGTON, July 7, 2005 -- The pharmaceutical and health products industry has spent more than $800 million in federal lobbying and campaign donations at the federal and state levels in the past seven years, a Center for Public Integrity investigation has found. Its lobbying operation, on which it reports spending more than $675 million, is the biggest in the nation. No other industry has spent more money to sway public policy in that period. Its combined political outlays on lobbying and campaign contributions is topped only by the insurance industry.

    astonishing isn't it? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by tnthorpe on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 01:38:08 PM EST
    Guess that's why we have the best gov't money can buy.

    Heh. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 01:47:32 PM EST
    I guess money doesn't buy much does it? Except corrupted pols.

    "Medical" marijuana (1.00 / 0) (#6)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 07:36:04 AM EST
     is a subterfuge. We all know that.

      To be legitimately prescribed by doctors and dispensed by pharmacists acting in accordance with any known "medical"  standards a substance needs to be available in uniform dosages and delivery methods. Maijuana varies widely in THC levels and levels of many other chemical compounds and the ingestion by  inhaling particulate combustion vapors obviously also varies greatly depending on the physical characteristics of different samples.

      I believe marijuana should be legalized for adults to possess and use and regulated similarly to the way we regulate alcohol, but I don't find either the "medical" marijuana proponents or the people who advocate the supposed zillion and one miracle uses of "hemp" to be anything but transparent.


    It is medically relevant (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by lilybart on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 08:47:37 AM EST
    We have helped parents of our friends, OLDER people who would normally think that pot is bad, get marijuana during cancer treatment.

    These are people who would normally agree with you, who experience the help that mj gives them. They are believers.

    I hope you never need to think about this issue because of your own illness, but if you haven't got experience with it, talk to those who do.

    And you know what? If it just helps a sick person feel like eating and it makes them feel relaxed and happier, I would say that is a great benefit.


    Prohibition.... (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 08:48:40 AM EST
    created the medical marijuana issue.  If not for prohibition, reefer would be just another home remedy like tea w/ honey and lemon for a sore throat, or chicken noodle soup for a cold.

    But thanks to prohibition, we need a way for sick people to get a remedy that works without risking arrest, hence we have the medical marijuana movement.  

    Unfortunately, the state says we can't be treated as free adults and medicate ourselves as we see fit with the help of our doctor....we need state approval and a permission slip like children.  


    It would be more akin (none / 0) (#12)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 09:18:55 AM EST
      to a snifter of brandy but I generally agree.

      Marijuana is a psychoactive substance and 99.99% of the use historically was and  prospectively will be because a lot of people find it a pleasant and enjoyable psychoactive effect. It's demonstrably less dangerous in both acute and chronic terms than alcohol and in chronic terms less dangerous than tobacco. It is not even in the same ballpark with opiates, cocaine, and countless prescription drugs that are commonly abused.

      Equating it with "medicine" though is both transparently disingenuous and counter-productive to the goal of legalizing it for purely recreational use. It should be regulated as a consumer product for adults not as a controlled substance.



    I think.... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 10:12:19 AM EST
    remedy is a better description than medicine, sure.  For the reasons you mentioned about dosage and such.

    Whatever we wanna call it, we need to let people use it without the state on their backs.  


    I agree (1.00 / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 10:21:52 AM EST
    But tying it to transparent claims is counterproductive, and won't win the argument.

    People who have benefitted (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by lilybart on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 12:56:22 PM EST
    would disagree.  As I said below, many older people we know were helped during chemo and other treatments with mj. These are people who would normally agree with you.

    I agree though that it is not government's  business to tell us what we can grow in our backyard and we can smoke for fun or relief from nausea.


    for sure (none / 0) (#34)
    by RichLon on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 07:35:00 PM EST
    I'd say tying the MJ debate so closely to strictly Medicinal issues dilutes the many other legitimate calls for legalizing the drug.  Severing ties to the black market, adding some much needed funds to the National Treasury in the form of regulation and taxes, relieving our severely overpopulated Jail system, etc.  There are so many legitimate platforms for marijuana legalization that seem to be completely overshadowed by the platform of Medicinal Use, when that particular platform seems to be easily dismissed by Politicians.

    Even so, the platform of Medicinal Use is a legitimate one.  There are a lot of people out there dealing with painful ailments that deserve to be relieved.  You can't even argue that Marijuana is hazardous to one's respiratory health because all you have to do is use a vaporizer.

    This is an issue bogged down by the Pharmaceutical industry and their lobbyists.  Thankfully things are being done at the state level (Cali, RI, etc) to set things right.


    Exactly (1.00 / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 08:46:15 AM EST
    I don't use it and don't care if others do. But you aren't going to win based on it being beneficial. (See Deconstructionist's comments.)

    Why? Because it is not beneficial. It is a drug that alters reality, and yes, some people do become addicted. While the addiction is probably no worse than tobacco and probably not near as bad as an addiction to alcohol, it exists.

    The argument should be that using it is not a criminal act anymore than tobacco and alcohol and that laws against its use has created a criminal class of suppliers who also provide other drugs and engage in violent actions to maintain their "business."


    Speak for yourself old-timer:)... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 02:18:37 PM EST
    about marijuana not being beneficial.

    Is stress reduction not beneficial?  Relaxation?  Laughter?

    I agree with you that all the medical marijuana activists would probably be better off just advocating for outright legalization...the freedom argument is the way to win this fight on the merits.  

    But on the other hand there are so many powerful special interests that will fight legalization tooth and nail, and their side has been winning for almost 100 years now, what's a cancer patient to do in the meantime?


    See my comment above (1.00 / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 10:36:08 PM EST
    re cost...

    As for "old.." sigh.

    But the alternative is so much worse.


    which powerful special interest groups (none / 0) (#28)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 04:21:24 PM EST
     fight legalization of marijuana? I'd suggest that while big business won't openly lobby for legalization, Phillip Morris, etc. would love another revenue stream and would have product on the shelves within one expedited growing season  of the green light.

      The people who would make the most  money would be the same people who mkae money from selling beerr and smokes and they love money. The pharmaceutical companies would lose nothing from legalized marijuana and would actually be the ones most likely to profit from "medical" marijuana because they would have the best opportunity to receive licenses to distribute marijuna as a controlled substance.

      Not everything is about powerful economic interests pulling the strings. This one is merely a matter of too many politicians being fearful of being labeled soft on drugs and losing more votes than they gain.


    Maybe I exagerate.... (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 06:40:57 AM EST
    but here's a list of donors to the Partnership for a Drug Free America...I consider that fighting to keep reefer illegal, and there are some interesting names on there.  Link

    You need a better understanding... (1.00 / 2) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 10:31:37 AM EST
    We have US Representatives, elected every two years. This should, and in most cases does, make them more sensitive to the wishes of the people.

    We have Senators, one third of who are elected every two years for a six year term, who are supposed to be a filter on too rapid a change, to insure that the change is needed and not counter productive.

    Thus your thrust should start at the Representative level. They will be more responsive, and if they can get a bill passed, pressure the Senate to take action. Now that doesn't mean you will win the first time out, but it does mean a national debate rather than complaining a Senator doesn't respond.

    BTW - It is also helpful to NOT make false claims. McCain's response to the question re Hillary in no way supports your claim.

    "medical" marijuana (1.00 / 1) (#29)
    by diogenes on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 09:16:55 PM EST
    Cannibinoids already exist in medical form, in the form of Marinol, which is an FDA approved drug.  Of course, any drug which is smoked gives a better high than a pill (e.g. smoked methamphetamine versus pills, smoked nicotine versus chewing tobacco), which may explain part of all this.

    A liver cancer surgeon (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 12:57:38 AM EST
    explained that his patients are prescribed MJ in pill capsule form to combat the side effects of chemotherapy.  This seems like a sensible solution to me.

    MJ in capsule form (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Pete Guither on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 07:21:34 AM EST
    That would probably be Marinol, which is synthetic THC.  That's good for some people, but not all.  For one thing, a pill to control nausea (one of the uses) can be a problem because you have to swallow it.  Second, for many patients, Marinol is hard to control -- you don't know if you got enough or too much until it kicks in after a delay in being absorbed through the stomach.  With smoking marijuana, patients can self-titrate (smoking just enough to get the correct benefit).  Third, I talked to a Marinol patient earlier this week -- his prescription costs $11,000 per month.  I'm sure that's a benefit to the pharmaceutical company...

    Having cannabis-based products like Marinol and Sativex around is great and they may be right for some patients, but not for all, and that's no reason to lock someone up when a patient and doctor agree that marijuana is the best approach.  There is no valid reason to deny the use of marijuana.


    Marinol is a pharmaceutical pretension (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 08:07:04 AM EST
    at being a safe equally effective and valuable FDA approved alternative.

    NORML: Marinol vs. Natural Cannabis

    Marinol1 (dronabinol) is the only US FDA-approved synthetic cannabinoid. It is often marketed as a legal pharmaceutical alternative to natural cannabis.

    Marinol is manufactured as a gelatin capsule containing synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in sesame oil. It is taken orally and is available in 2.5mg, 5mg and/or 10mg dosages. Marinol may be prescribed for the treatment of cachexia (weight loss) in patients with AIDS and for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy...
    Chemical compounds in cannabis, known as cannabinoids, are responsible for its numerous therapeutic benefits. Scientists have identified 66 naturally occurring cannabinoids.3

    The active ingredient in Marinol, synthetic delta-9-tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC), is an analogue of one such compound, THC. However, several other cannabinoids available in cannabis -- in addition to naturally occurring terpenoids (oils) and flavonoids (phenols) -- have also been clinically demonstrated to possess therapeutic utility. Many patients favor natural cannabis to Marinol because it includes these other therapeutically active cannabinoids.

    For example, cannabidol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has been clinically demonstrated to have analgesic, antispasmodic, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, antinausea, and anti-rheumatoid arthritic properties.4

    Animal and human studies have shown CBD to possess anti-convulsant properties, particularly in the treatment of epilepsy.5 Natural extracts of CBD, when administered in combination with THC, significantly reduce pain, spasticity and other symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients unresponsive to standard treatment medications.6

    As with many drugs, FDA approval is simply a market protection, competition elimination and profit producing device for a big pharma inferior product.

    If I spent 11,000 a month (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilybart on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 08:43:30 AM EST
    on marijuana....wait, that is NOT POSSIBLE!!!

    Time to start a campaign to get Big Pharma to see how much money they could make if MJ were lega. They could grow it and sell it and make a fortune.


    Good point (1.00 / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 10:30:54 PM EST
    But this link brings into serious question the $11,000 a month number.

    In fact, it shows a month supply of MJ at $514 vs
    $678. for Marinol. Somehow saving $164 doesn't seem worth getting arrested.

    Is the link factual?? Appears to be.

    This link to Save-Rx shows a 30 day supply of 10mg would cost $639.

    That falls in the mid dose range acording to the first link.

    Perhaps Peter G's friend meant a year's supply. $11,000 is about 50% above the above figures, and is not outlandish off.


    Not TO Mention (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 02:18:53 PM EST
    The windfall the Taxman would reap.

    There is a proposal in CA to fill the 1 billion shortfall of tax revenue that they are expecting. It is from MJ sellers begging to be taxed. The 1 billion would be made up for instantly.


    You speak of a solution (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by scarshapedstar on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 12:11:49 PM EST
    As if there is a problem. I frequently hear that "no other medicine is smoked!" as if it is a profound insight. Well, that's great and all, but there's only about three ways to liberate all the active compounds from pot, due to pesky laws of thermodynamics. If the authoritarian drug warriors think they can come up with a better way, I'm all ears. Seriously.

    1. Extract them one at a time using toxic solvents, distillation, etc., and putting them into gel caps. Ergo: do all sorts of environmental damage to make yourself feel better. And, as others have noted, the product will be inferior. Mother Nature is a masterful chemist.

    2. Combustion, i.e. set the pot on fire. This also has the effect of vaporizing lots of physiologically inert but harmful compounds such as tar. Popular for thousands of years.

    3. Use a vaporizer. Efficient and lung-friendly. Vaporizers have the added bonus of being expensive, so you know it's "real medicine".

    Good point, scar (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 12:23:36 PM EST
    "real medicine" is supposed to bankrupt you. Unbalance your body chemistry too, if possible, so you'll need more "real medicine".

    Not be grown in your house or backyard.


    Why? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 05:38:16 AM EST
    When is the "will of the people" ...not? (none / 0) (#4)
    by SeeEmDee on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 07:11:31 AM EST
    When it conflicts with the will of wannabe Napoleons, that's when. By McCain's lights, every election that he disagrees with must, a priori, be null-and-void.

    The Republican Party is supposed to be on the side of lessened Federal interference in the affairs of the States, and of the People. But there's been precious little evidence of that ideology in practice; the exact opposite has been true regarding the issue of States passing laws in favor of medicinal cannabis. Indeed, this Administration has been guilty of using taxpayer's dollars to interfere in the electoral process in States that have sought to pass those kinds of laws, in direct violation of the Hatch Act. (The self-serving aspect of this should be obvious, as those doing so are direct beneficiaries of maintaining cannabis prohibition courtesy of their paychecks being tied to that continuance.)

    This is a direct repudiation of both 'state's rights' and the concept of 'federalism', both ideals being the supposed cornerstones of the Republican ideology. In short, they don't walk their talk. And McCain is a perfect example of this in operation. The man's arrogance is just a symptom of this particular political disease...

    No. But I suspect you knew this. (none / 0) (#33)
    by Edger on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 07:39:01 AM EST