Editorial: War on docs

July 18, 2003

, Sacramento Bee

What happened to the Republican principle of states' rights? It is missing these days when it comes to medicinal marijuana. President Bush seeks to punish doctors who follow state laws such as California's that allow physicians to recommend marijuana to certain patients with certain conditions. The punishment is a severe one: revoking these doctors' federal prescription licenses. The appellate court ruled in favor of these doctors and against the Bush administration. Bush's lawyers, however, have decided to pursue these doctors all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Why? Voters, for better or worse, have decided to make some fuzzy exceptions to their state's bans on marijuana for patients and providers who will jump through some hoops. Federal law has no such exceptions, yet the efforts to prosecute the patients in federal court have been largely unsuccessful. So the administration, as part of its broader war on drugs, has decided to intensify the witch hunt against the doctors. This is a misguided, disturbing attack on physicians, on patients and on voters who approved these laws.

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