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A letter to my Congressman

Dear Congressman Dicks (and staff),

I'm writing to you with regard to H.R. 2592; a medical marijuana bill. I do not know your position(s) on drug prohibition. Personally, I favor a free-market approach in this area; an approach which emphasizes personal responsibility and accountability. It is my opinion that drug prohibition fosters corruption at all levels of government and law enforcement and works to undermine individual liberty and the individual responsibility and accountability upon which liberty depends.

That said, I do not support H.R. 2592 or any other medical marijuana initiative. I agree with medical marijuana advocates in that the current federal approach to marijuana use, both medicinal and recreational, is brutal, unjust, and corrosive to our law enforcement agencies and our systems of institutional justice. We do need a change of direction, but I fear the path down which medical marijuana advocates would take us in attempting to end the so-called war on drugs.

It seems to me that making special exceptions to the current marijuana laws in order to alleviate the suffering of sick people takes for granted the legitimacy of the larger prohibitionist agenda. This seemingly compassionate approach may ease the suffering of thousands of people, but it also gives a tacit nod of approval to the booming prison labor industry, the booming property seizure industry, and the continued extension of US military hegemony throughout Central and South America. While a few thousand people may slip through the prohibitionist net under a medical marijuana model, millions will continue to suffer the consequences of the morally and intellectually bankrupt notion that the government has ANY legitimate role to play in an individual citizen's decision to consume the drugs of his or her choice.

Arguing that a select group of people, on the basis of medical necessity, should be exempt from arrest and prosecution for their use of marijuana, serves to validate the notion that most people SHOULD be subject to arrest, seizure of property, imprisonment, and coercive "drug treatment" for their marijuana use. Medical marijuana bills and voter initiatives may seem compassionate and sensible, but rather than pointing in the direction of individual liberty and responsibility, I see them leading to a "therapeutic state" in which doctors and "therapists" administer unwanted "treatment" to people who today would simply be imprisoned and deprived of their property for their use of marijuana. I don't see such a scenario as constituting much, if any, of an improvement over the current state of affairs; brutal, anti-democratic, and unjust as the current system is.

I'm not writing in the hope that you will vote one way or the other on H.R. 2592, which seems like a no-win situation to me. While the defeat of H.R. 2592 would be hailed as a vindication for the prohibitionist mentality, passage of the bill would, for me, mark an advance towards an equally dystopian future. It is not your vote on this issue that matters to me, but your public statements on the topic of prohibition. I hope that you will use your public platform to voice your support for individual liberty and the individual responsibility with which it goes hand in hand.

I thank you for your attention.


Rev. Kevin M. O'Connor


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2002 01:25 pm (UTC)
You are absolutely right.

I have often heard my father say that the best government is less government. The more laws that are written, the more machiavellian and serpentine the system becomes, until eventually the bureaucracy far outweighs the initial "good intentions" of the legislation (Isn't the road to Hell paved with good intentions? This is why.)

I feel this way about most "vice" laws that involve consensual behavior between adults.
Mar. 20th, 2002 02:55 pm (UTC)
Did you ever get a responce?
Mar. 20th, 2002 04:39 pm (UTC)
Did I get a response?
Just an auto-responder form letter saying, "Thank you for contacting me. Your thoughts and concerns are very important to me. Blah. Blah." I never got any response on the topic of medical marijuana or drug prohibition.

I'm rather surprised not to have received a reply, actually. I wrote to Wisconsin Senator, Russ Feingold, about the USA Patriot Act (which passed the Senate 98 to 1 -- Feingold being the 1) a while back. Senator Feingold's office sent me a 12 page letter in response, and I'm not even one of his constituents. Dicks, my representative in the House, presides over a podunk district in Western Washington which consists mainly of trees. I doubt he gets many letters from his flock, and he probably didn't have a form letter ready to shoot back to me regarding the specific tack I took in addressing the medical marijuana isssue.
Mar. 21st, 2002 08:18 am (UTC)
Re: Did I get a response?
Huh... wow!

I think they have a standard autoreply, no matter who or where they are... I think it is a prerequisite.

"If you are going to run for office, you must first turn in an acceptable form letter responce!"
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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