By Tom Prichard
Over the weekend I engaged in an "energetic debate" with Neal Levine who is spokesperson for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care (MCC) on the Taxpayers' League's radio show. MCC seeks to legalize the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes in Minnesota. We've opposed their initiative because smoked marijuana is a dangerous drug and attempts to legalize it for medical purposes is bad medicine and really an incremental step towards broader legalization. In other states where smoked marijuana is legal for medical purposes, efforts to legalize it generally have followed not too long thereafter.
Neal, while working for medical marijuana legalization in Minnesota in 2007, worked in 2006 for broader legalization of marijuana in Nevada. (They already allowed use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes.) Neal is also the director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project, a principle national organization pushing to legalize smoked marijuana. A couple of the monied folks behind marijuana legalization include George Soros and Peter Lewis. Soros spent nearly $20 million promoting the candidacy of John Kerry. Lewis gave $340,000 to MPP in 2004 and is also a major contributor to the ACLU. Lewis also gave a total of $50,000 to both the DFL House and Senate caucuses in 2006.
Science should be the guiding force behind drug approval not political action. Yet well funded political efforts is what's driving efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Minnesota.