I know the audience shared by Bill Hobbs and me is very small, but, on the off-chance that you’re here after googling “Bill Hobbs” and “medical marijuana,” please, let me refute a few of his nonsense claims.
The big one:
The legislation is a big fave with the hippie pot-smokers and ’60s refugees on the Left, of course. I guess they figure that legal pot-smoking + universal health care would = a realization of everything they fought for at Woodstock: Free weed for everybody, man.You think government is expensive now, just wait ’til the Woodstock generation has an unlimited supply of weed paid for by the tax dollars of the non-pot-smokers who actually have jobs.
This will take some parsing, but let’s just start with the “Who smokes pot” issue. The .gov puts teen pot usage at between one in four and one in five kids. NORML says that 80 million people in the U.S. have smoked pot, which is just about one in four people. According to them, last year, twenty million people smoked pot.
Does Bill Hobbs really believe that one in four people are hippies and ’60s refugees on the left? No, wait, he’s talking about decriminalizing marijuana here in Tennessee. I want to know if Bill Hobbs really believes that one in four Tennesseans are hippies and ’60s refugee leftists?
Worse yet, is this the public voice of the GOP claiming that one in four Tennesseans don’t have jobs? Maybe it’s me, but I don’t think that’s something I’d be bragging about if I were involved in the state government in any way.
Second, do you suppose that, whenever Bill Hobbs writes a screed, that he ever goes back to look and see if it’s internally consistant?
In one paragraph he says:
As written, though, the Democrat legislation would make it extremely easy for just about anyone to get a prescription from their doctor allowing them to grow marijuana – which is, you know, the real goal of the bill. [emphasis mine]
and in the paragraph I quoted above he says
You think government is expensive now, just wait ’til the Woodstock generation has an unlimited supply of weed paid for by the tax dollars of the non-pot-smokers who actually have jobs. [again, emphasis mine]
I hate to even spell it out, it’s so obvious. But, if pot-smoking hippies can grown their own pot, no tax dollars need go towards paying for that supply. I know the GOP, over the last eight years has claimed to be the party of smaller government and less spending, while at the same time actually spending money like it was going out of style and growing the government to unprecidented proportions, and I know that, as we work our way back to sanity and to a place where words have their agreed-upon meaning, there’s going to be some cognitave dissonance while folks on the right get back in touch with reality, but please! This is just too much. If a person is paying for his or her own treatment, there is no cost to the tax payers.
That’s why you righties claim to stand opposed to universal healthcare in the first place–so that tax payers will not have to pay for the healthcare of others (never mind all the ways in which we already do). If the GOP in this state is confused by the concept of “money coming out of my pocket to pay for things I need” not being the same as “government subsidized healthcare” y’all have some deep problems you might want to get straight amongst yourselves.
But let’s also discuss this claim of Hobbs’s, because with this claim, he reveals himself to completely lack in compassion or, actually, any understanding of what the stakes are among normal people who advocate for medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana is completely unnecessary of course as there already is a legal “medical marijuana” drug called Marinol which has the same active ingredient as pot – a chemical called THC. Marinol has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration after rigorous medical testing and it is often prescribed for cancer patients to relieve nausea during chemotherapy.
Well, holy cow! If Marinol is just the same as marijuana, why are all these “hippies” still complaining? Let me lay it out for you. It’s not the same. First of all, Marinol is a pill and marijuana is usually inhaled. You can feel the effects of marijuana in minutes. It takes an hour or more for Marinol to kick in.
Second, there’s no agreement among scientists that THC is the only active ingredient in pot. Yes, everyone knows it’s an active ingredient. No one is sure that it’s the only one. Pot has more than 60 cannabiniods, all of which may have beneficial effects on the body and the brain. Marinol has only THC.
The kind of nausea that cancer patients going through chemotherapy feel is not just “Oh, I feel like I might throw up.” It’s the nausea that says, “I am going to throw up, over and over and over again.” And you do.
Pray tell, Compassionate Hobbs, if you’re repeatedly throwing up everything in your stomach, how much good is a pill that has to be ingested, that takes an hour to kick in, going to do you?
What about the multitude of patients who complain that the effects of Marinol are too strong?
And, let’s be honest here folks, because Marinol has such strong side-effects (in other words, you’re going to get a lot more stoned from taking Marinol than you are from taking a hit or two off your bong), a lot of people take it recreationally.
So, if you have two substances that do similar things–pot and Marinol–and one, if legal, would be cheap or free and the other is under the control of Big Pharma, one allows the patient to determine her dosage and the other comes only in a dose that many people find has unpleasant side effects, one works immediately to suppress nausea and the other takes an hour to kick in, if you can keep it down, one works immediately to relieve pain and increase people’s appetites and the other, again, takes an hour, and both are also used recreationally, why aren’t Republicans advocating for the substance that’s inexpensive, plentiful, and costs tax-payers nothing?
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
For the record, I have smoked pot. I didn’t smoke pot until I was in grad school and I didn’t really get it. Which makes me a nerd, I know, but I want to be honest with you.
Since then, I’ve used it maybe five times and only once, when sitting on a backporch of some actual Tennesseans with jobs and no connection to Woodstock and being handed something that tasted like smokey lemons and made me feel like I was well-loved by the universe and everything in it did I ever understand what the hubub was about.
Sadly, it’s not all like that and I have shitty lungs to begin with, so my career as a pot-smoking hippie was short-lived.
Still, even if it’s not for me, if it eases the suffering of very sick people, what’s the harm?