Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun, and while the Bible did not anticipate fluorescent grow lights, its broader point may be well taken as an unidentified company scouts the Hartford area for a facility for growing marijuana indoors in accordance with Connecticut’s new law authorizing medical use of the plant.
It’s not clear why anyone would invest in such an enterprise while federal law on marijuana still conflicts with state law and federal agents could smash up any “medical marijuana” operation. Even if the current national administration declines to enforce federal marijuana law in “medical marijuana” states, a new administration could.
But “medical marijuana” seems to be following the largely forgotten path cleared during the alcohol prohibition of the 1920s, when federal law made exceptions for sacramental wine and “medicinal” liquor. Soon there was a religious revival as thousands of people presented themselves as members of the clergy requiring sacramental wine and small bribes could persuade doctors to issue liquor prescriptions to people who only wished they were sick enough to qualify for a stiff drink. Largely because of “medicinal” liquor, during Prohibition the Walgreens drug store chain expanded from 20 to 520 stores.
It seems foolish to expect that the requirement for prescriptions will keep marijuana “medical” any longer than alcohol was kept “sacramental” or “medicinal” during Prohibition.
The indoor growing facility purportedly contemplated for the Hartford area would have a hundred or so employees. Would each be carefully searched at the end of his shift? If so, by whom, and who would search the searchers? Would shipments be closely monitored? And as many doctors already overprescribe narcotic drugs like the powerfully addictive oxycodone, will they not prove just as malleable in regard to marijuana, a far less addictive drug?
So who is really being fooled here? “Medical” marijuana is just the conscience salver for politicians who suspect that drug prohibition is as futile as alcohol prohibition was but who lack the courage to advocate even an audit of that failure.
It’s no matter to most politicians that the legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, cause thousands of deaths for every death caused by the illegal drugs. The legal drugs bring huge profit to government through excise taxes and pension forfeiture and they’re OK because … well, because they’re legal.
While there is nothing new under the sun, everything, as Harry Truman suggested, can “look” new if history is ignored.
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Hooray for the University of Connecticut (UConn), which has just adopted a policy forbidding intimate relationships between university employees and students after having received what a university official calls “years” of inquiries from students about the propriety of professors asking them for dates. Maybe all the bonding done by state government for the university over the last decade left UConn administrators no time to think about ethics.
The university was compelled to act at last by rumors that a UConn professor molested children many years ago while working at a summer camp and later enjoyed sex and drugs with students on UConn’s campus. The professor has been suspended with pay and barred from campus while police and the university investigate. Though the professor has not been properly accused of anything, the university has publicly identified him with the suspicions being investigated and so news organizations have identified him too.
But the child molestation rumors involve supposed incidents that appear to be beyond the statute of limitations, and if incidents involving sex and drugs with students were consensual, the university may have trouble finding anyone willing to go through the trouble of swearing out a complaint and enduring cross-examination.
That would leave the university obliged to bestow a lot of money on the professor so he might not insist on getting his job back or press a defamation claim. Then it will be hooray for UConn again.
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn.