March 26, 2009

Saw you at a party
You asked me to dance
Said music was great for dancing
I don't really dance much
But this time I did
And I was glad that I did this time

Jozsef Bullas, untitled, 2006

* Chris Weigant wonders about having a Science-based drug policy. excerpt:

"In a move to make Obama more accessible and answerable to the public, the White House web site is soliciting questions from the public for Obama to answer on their new 'Open For Questions' page. So, given the opportunity, what question would you ask the president? Personally, I would choose: 'Will drug policy be included in your new science-based approach to government, or will you let politics continue to trump science in this arena?' Because there have been two specific news items in the past few weeks, and while they are almost completely unrelated, they both come from the 'science/politics' debate on drugs. The first is the "morning after" pill, and the second is medical marijuana.

"The morning after pill ("Plan B") was in the news because a federal judge just told the Food and Drug Administration to start selling it over the counter without a prescription to women under the age of 18. In a scathing opinion from the bench, the judge made it clear he believed that the decision to limit the over-the-counter status of the drug to adult women was made for political reasons, not scientific ones. Which the FDA is just not supposed to do. The FDA, under Bush, didn't even want to change the status of Plan B in the first place, they would have been much happier to leave it as a prescription-only drug. But they were forced to act, so they did what they could to continue limiting access to the drug to only the women they deemed fit to buy it without seeing a doctor first. The judge found this improper, and sent it back to the FDA drawing boards, telling them to get it right the second time around."
"The second issue is more politically charged, but that should not be a reason for Obama to shy away from it. The Attorney General made news recently by saying he is not going to go after medical marijuana providers in states that have made medical marijuana legal. While federal law does trump state law, the Obama administration has decided that the specter of Drug Enforcement Agency raids on sick people when we have a crisis on our Mexican border shows the wrong priorities.

"There are actually quite a few questions up on the White House's Open For Questions site right now dealing with this issue, so it will be interesting to see if Obama answers any of them. Many ask outright: why not legalize marijuana, tax it, and regulate it?"
"Scientifically speaking, there is no justification for the continued designation of marijuana on Schedule I. The question is entirely political, to put it another way.

"Which is what President Obama promised to stop doing.

"So, while the Attorney General's announcement that the feds were going to ease up a bit on raiding medical marijuana providers was indeed a welcome development, it simply does not go far enough. The Attorney General has the power to change all of this, without even asking Congress' permission. The same Act states: "the Attorney General may by rule ... transfer between such schedules any drug or other substance...."

"So my question for Obama would be, in full: 'President Obama, since you have promised to start basing government policy on science and not on politics, will you push to allow all women over-the-counter access to Plan B as soon as possible? And seeing as how one-fourth of the states have made medical marijuana legal, how can you justify on scientific grounds the continued listing of marijuana as a Schedule I drug and not under Schedule II? Are you committed to bring your science-based philosophy into the realm of federal drug policy, or will you allow politics to dictate such decisions, as in the recent past?'"

* Detailed Twang has The Soft Boys' Rock and Roll Toilet available for your listening/downloading pleasure.

* "The way to write American music is simple. All you have to do is be an American and then write any kind of music you wish." -- Virgil Thomson


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