Monday, January 03, 2005


Marijuana: Better than faith-healing

Faith-healers like to order their followers to rise from their wheelchairs and walk. Some of them do, only to be caught in the waiting arms of an assistant offstage. For a more lasting result, drugs may be needed.

Angel McClary Raich "39-year-old mother of two teenagers, suffers from ... wasting syndrome, tumors in her uterus, endometriosis and other ailments." If that wasn't enough, "she started having seizures, and doctors found a deep brain tumor. Eventually she became partially paralyzed on one side." So she ended up in a wheelchair.

Mrs. Raich is also the subject of a case before the Supreme Court, Ashcroft v. Raich. The Feds are appealing the decision of the 9th Circuit Appellate Court (California, you know), which ordered the DEA to stop taking Mrs. Raich's marijuana plants from her patio and basically to leave her alone.

According to Evelyn Nieves of the Washington Post, Mrs. Raich's marijuana means a lot more to her than just getting high—

The more she smoked or inhaled, she said, the more sensations she began feeling. She could eat. She could move. Within a year and a half, she felt strong enough to learn how to walk again. After four years in a wheelchair, she put it away.

From a judicial viewpoint, the case is all about whether Federal law prohibiting marijuana use trumps California state law. But from a political viewpoint, this case could be a major unravelling of the "War on Drugs"—if the Supremes concur with the 9th Circuit, that is.

Mrs. Raich has already experienced one miracle. Let's hope she receives another at the hands of the Supreme Court.

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