Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, last seen round these parts sending me pictures of a murder victim in an attempt to buy my vote, is quickly ascending the list of my least-favorite politicians. His most recent crusade is against medical marijuana, approved by Michigan voters in 2008:
Michigan's medical marijuana law has been abused, exploited and hijacked by pot profiteers and needs fixing, Attorney General Bill Schuette said Wednesday.
Flanked by a dozen legislators, police officers, prosecutors and doctors Wednesday, Schuette announced several bills that will be introduced in the Legislature this fall to close loopholes in a law he says was intended to provide marijuana as pain relief to people with terminal, debilitating and chronic diseases.
I’m not going to get into a long-winded defense of medical marijuana here. Except to say that, having experienced both cancer and very significant pain, I cannot support any measures that hinder individuals from acquiring and using a drug that alleviates their pain.* Like, say, a patient who is suffering from a) intense pain, b) horrific nausea, and c) losing weight because a) and b) make eating damn near impossible. In that case, it might be pretty awesome if there was some sort of drug that could relieve all those symptoms and kick-start your appetite and didn’t have to be ingested orally because you’ll probably just throw that up anyway. But in that case, Schuette recommends a trip to the ER to get synthetic heroin pumped into your veins and a bottle Oxycontin. Much safer.
Oh sorry…that was more winded than I would have liked. I’ll just say this.
1) I have sat in an oncologist’s office waiting to hear the results of my PET scan and biopsy to figure out what type of cancer I have and how far it has spread. And yet nothing terrifies me quite like a Republican Attorney General flanked by a dozen legislators, police officers, and prosecutors.
2) As a lawyer, I am unaware of any situation in which “several bills” have served to make anything on earth less confusing.
Maybe I’m too hard on Schuette since he’s just your typical, cliché, “tough-on-crime!” AG who babbles on about “public safety” when discussing people who choose to light a dead, dried plant on fire and inhale the fumes…
Schuette has argued marijuana is authorized in only very limited circumstances, and medical use doesn't include sales of marijuana. He's called the appeals court ruling a "huge victory for public safety and Michigan communities struggling with an invasion of pot shops near their schools, homes and churches."
As if the link between smoking a joint and randomly murdering everybody is just so damn obvious that it needs no further explanation. The potheads are gonna get you in your homes! And schools! And churches! CHILDREN!!!!! Or something.
Although that doesn’t even hold up empirically – a recent study showed that the surrounding area of a recently closed dispensary actually sees an increase in crime. Which is counterintuitive if you think about it for two seconds, but reasonable if you think about it for three or more: Why would a business ostensibly full of sick, pacifist hippies make an area more violent?
Anyway, this is just another example of Republicans’ longstanding commitment to “public safety.” Example, from the Free Press earlier this month:
Michigan law permits gun owners to obtain and use noise suppressors or silencers as long as they first go through a federal permitting process, according to a formal opinion released today by Attorney General Bill Schuette.
The attorney general's opinion parallels one issued four years ago regarding the possession of automatic weapons in Michigan. Then-Attorney General Mike Cox found that machine guns could be legally possessed by Michigan citizens who obtained authorization from the U.S. Department of Justice