Thursday, July 25, 2002
According to the old saw, a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged. These days a liberal is a conservative whose family member has had cancer.
Lyn Nofziger, Reagan's White House political director, said Wednesday that he became a supporter of medicinal marijuana when his daughter was dying of cancer. Marijuana was the only drug that helped alleviate her nausea and the other side effects of chemotherapy, he said.
Nofziger joined liberal Democrat Congressman Barney Frank and Republican Congressman Ron Paul at a news conference to promote a bill allowing states to make their own decisions regarding medical marijuana. Dr. Paul, a physician, argued from a states rights viewpoint that "Even the most vocal opponents of marijuana reform laws should support the bill, because it presents them an opportunity to enact strict laws in their own state legislatures."
According to the Los Angeles Times news report, Ron Paul—a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate—called the denial of access to marijuana to suffering patients "criminal." "Where are the compassionate conservatives today? They're not here, and they should be," Paul said, arguing that decriminalizing marijuana, which he dubbed a "so-called illegal drug," would be restoring rights lost to federal oversight in the early 1900s.
Republican (and former libertarian) Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach also supported the bill, saying "Let's get over some of the stereotypes and hangovers from the '60s."
Unfortunately most Republicans have too much invested in the failed Drug War to admit they could be wrong, and most Democrats are too scared of being labeled "soft on crime" to do what's right. If someday they personally contract cancer or AIDS, and are dying in agonizing pain and uncontrollable nausea, they'll certainly get no sympathy from me.