Let me put it this way. If the only way we can stop people from using marijuana is by killing free speech, I’d like to keep the free speech.
I’m heartened by a recent Supreme Court decision that may put a stop to one particularly loony aspect of the War on Drugs. It may clear the way for states to let patients obtain marijuana on the recommendation of a doctor. The decision is a blow to those who don’t want cancer patients to use medical marijuana and don’t want doctors to be able to talk to them about it.
In arguing its end of the case the Bush administration has been claiming that “the provision of medical advice” is not “pure speech.” And that they should have the right to penalize doctors who speak too freely about pot. Why? Because the speaking in question has to do with “the conduct of the practice of medicine.” Did you get that? If speech has a purpose beyond itself, it isn’t “pure.”
“Pure” speech would have to be speech about nothing, I guess. Seinfeld speech. By this reasoning, the government can regulate my speech when I ask my wife to pick up some milk on the way home. After all, that wouldn’t be “pure” speech either. It pertains to the conduct of grocery-getting. Of course, some acts of speech per se entail actual violation of rights or participation in a crime. But that is a different standard than simply stomping speech the government is uncomfortable with it. Which would be unspeakable.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.