An open letter to Pat Powers

By Bob Newland

3000 Miles to Graceland movie

War College—self-touted by moderator Pat Powers as “best political blog in South Dakota”—is consistent in one respect; it consistently mirrors the Republican Party in its inconsistency with its own philosophy. For instance, take the So. Dak. GOP website’s own statement of principles’ first two propositions:

“I BELIEVE the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored.”

“I BELIEVE in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.”

As is the case with a stopped clock being right twice a day, Powers occasionally takes positions in line with those statements. When it comes to the dignity of seriously ill people or equal rights for those with some disabilities, he seems to have a problem. Similar inconsistencies arise in comparing his positions to the GOP statements of principle regarding free enterprise, the proper role of government, and human rights. Powers manages to offend all of these principles in his “comments” latest post concerning the South Dakota Safe Access Act.

Cannabis, a God-given herb with near-miraculous (as only God can impart) preventive and healing qualities, has a several-centuries-old record of use in human medicine. Its record of safety is unequalled by any medicinal herb or manufactured drug. Its palliative effect for those with nausea, pain and spinal injury or disease-induced muscle spasms is undeniable, at least by anyone who has looked at the evidence. Pat Powers manages to maintain denial of the undeniable.

A blog is a very unsatisfying forum in which to attempt to have a serious debate. Powers consistently deletes my comments on his topic posts, which is probably not such a bad thing when one considers the barrage of drivel posted by largely anonymous commentors thereon. Even so, not even his usual crew of barking hounds can muster much support for his views about therapeutic cannabis.

If PP, or Lee Schoenbeck, or Bob Ellis (these three at least post their own names on War College comments) wants to have a discussion based on the science relevant to cannabis, I’ll confront them in front of whatever group they choose wherefore to make fools of themselves. For the time being, I’ll have to be content with the following excerpt from some 80 pages of a 1988 decision made by Drug Enforcement Agency administrative law judge Francis Young, which, like every single reputable study ever produced, was ignored by that most brutal and cruel (amid heavy competition) of all government agencies:

“The evidence in this record clearly shows that cannabis has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress from great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”



32 comments ↓

#1 Bob Ellis on 05.06.09 at 4:50 pm

Can you explain to me how and why society will be a better place if we have more intoxicated people in it?

#2 Fastidious on 05.06.09 at 5:07 pm

You might want to clarify what you mean by “intoxicated.”

De-criminalize it, and all these “problems” would disappear.

#3 Bob Newland on 05.06.09 at 5:12 pm

Can you explain to me why you are asking a question like that in this topic thread?

#4 PP at the SDWC on 05.06.09 at 6:52 pm

Newland isn’t in the state penitentiary for “possession with the intent to distribute” yet?

Boy, the wheels of justice sure turn slowly.

#5 Bob Newland on 05.06.09 at 7:06 pm

Off-topic, FF. Naughty, naughty.

#6 K on 05.06.09 at 7:54 pm

Ask someone dying of cancer if they think the world is any worse off because they’re ‘intoxicated’ by morphine. Better yet — tell someone you love that’s enduring that pain that we don’t need any more ‘intoxicated people’ in society. And what’s the different between morphine and medical marijuana? Oh yeah, morphine is more dangerous and highly addictive.

I’ll be looking forward to Bob and PP’s campaign to outlaw all the intoxicating substances used in medicine. How about starting with anesthesia? That’ll be popular.

#7 Bob Ellis on 05.06.09 at 8:04 pm

Bob, it’s because this issue is about legalizing pot, so I’m trying to figure out why some people believe so strongly that having more intoxicated people in society will make it a better place. I’ve been a cop and seen plenty of intoxicated people, and I’ve been intoxicated plenty myself back in my wild days, and I just need help understanding why having more screwed-up people around is going to produce a better society.

#8 Bob Newland on 05.06.09 at 8:22 pm

There is nothing about the issue of medical use for cannabis that suggests that what will happen is what you seem to be suggesting.

What you really need help in understanding is that even if what you suggest is true, which it’s not, it is still not a good reason to put people in jail for trying to alleviate their own pain and nausea.

Of course, I don’t believe for an instant that you are being honest.

#9 hosepheffer on 05.06.09 at 9:21 pm

i sure hope bob and pat don’t ever have to watch a loved one, or experience chronic pain themselves. Try to function on Darvoscet or Vicodin, let alone live with the side effects.

Bob, there is no use trying to change the minds of the brainwashed. Move forward and use your energies to gain momentum with those who have the ability to see the gray, and not just black and white.

#10 Bob Ellis on 05.07.09 at 5:29 am

We all know there are other pain medications available–even other less fun forms of THC which can be ingested for pain.

And most of us really know this is really about the legalization of pot in general.

Sorry, I’ve always had a strong preference for being plain spoken and shooting straight. I’m just not into playing pretend and playing games.

So I’m still wondering how having more intoxicated people will make society a better place.

#11 PP at the SDWC on 05.07.09 at 5:43 am

I’m being moderated? I thought I was invited to the party.

#12 l3wis on 05.07.09 at 6:38 am

“And most of us really know this is really about the legalization of pot in general.”

I hope so.

PP- Seems you and Bob have watched the Little House on the Prairie episode of Albert being addicted to Morphine one too many times.

I like the part where Pa has to tie him to the bed. His withdrawals symptoms would have been a lot less painful if Pa would have given him a little hooch.

#13 Costner on 05.07.09 at 6:49 am

So I’m still wondering how having more intoxicated people will make society a better place.

The people who would benefit from medical marijuana are obviously going to be intoxicated regardless if they are dealing with the pain etc, thus it is only a matter of what chemical is responsible for the intoxication.

Frankly, I’m not even sure the term intoxication is accurate as I’m quite sure someone who has done a little cannabis is likely in a much clearer state of mind than someone who is hopped up on morphine or vicoden.

However to take your primary point further, you seem to be focused purely upon the numbers of people being “intoxicated” without any concern for why they are in this position to begin with. Do you think people want to get cancer so they can legally smoke a little weed? I think not.

Based upon your logic that society is better off with fewer people intoxicated, why is morphine legal? Why are codine, vicoden, or any addictive pain killers legal? Why is alcohol illegal?

If you are so concerned with the pure number of “intoxicated” people in our society, it seems you would be well served to focus upon those intoxicants that are used for recreational purposes rather than those used for medical ones.

I honestly believe that if this eases the pain and suffering of people like cancer patients then it cannot possibly be a bad thing, especially when you examine the studies about the effects and realize the medical community at large agrees the benefits are clear.

As a final note, I’ll go ahead and reassure you that I have never and will never use any form of cannabis or any other such drug, so I’ll eliminate the desire for your to make accusatory statements about my true motives here.

#14 Costner on 05.07.09 at 6:51 am

Obviously my statement about alcohol should have said “Why is alcohol legal” as opposed to illegal.

My bad.

#15 Ghost of Dude on 05.07.09 at 7:09 am

So I’m still wondering how having more intoxicated people will make society a better place.

Perhaps you can answer me this: what makes you think the number of intoxicated people will actually increase if pot was legalized?
I refuted your stupid question on PP’s blog and I’ll do it again here:

If someone wants to get intoxicated, they’ll either smoke some weed or get drunk. The two intoxicants aren’t mutually exclusive.
There are millions of over-medicated people in the US – anti-depressants, wiener pills, valium, ritalin, etc. Do you count them under the “intoxicated” category?

#16 Angry Guy on 05.07.09 at 7:56 am

I’m high on Jesus.

#17 l3wis on 05.07.09 at 8:09 am

Zombie Jesus?

“wiener pills”

Do they also have hamburger pills?

#18 hossenpheffer on 05.07.09 at 8:49 am

i’ve been “MORE THAN INTOXICATED” on perscription pain medicine.

#19 l3wis on 05.07.09 at 8:51 am

It is pointless arguing with Bob. He is so irrational it makes me wonder if he is on ‘meds’.

#20 Ghost of Dude on 05.07.09 at 8:53 am

Do they also have hamburger pills?

Somebody’s been watching too many episodes of the Jetsons.

#21 Randall on 05.07.09 at 9:03 am

Conservatives typically don’t want anyone else enjoying themselves – period.

Nixon’s commission on Marijuana said to legalize it.

Reagan’s commission on Marijuana said to legalize it.

People that want pot can get it now – ask ANY high-school kid – legalizing it will only change the number of people behind bars – not the number who are “intoxicated” at any moment.

Marijuana is only illegal because that gets politicians elected. It has NOTHING to do with health or detriment – or benefit – to society. Zero.

“…I’m still wondering how having more people intoxicated will make society a better place?”

The cognitive dissonance of that statement obviates the dichotomy of the Republican Party: “…the best government is that which governs the least…” (EXCEPT when people enjoy something WE don’t think they should! At that point government should be big and mean and come down on them like a ton of bricks. And it’s OUR job – we Republicans – to decide what and when and how hard…)

#22 Ghost of Dude on 05.07.09 at 9:23 am

The party of no sex, no drugs, no alcohol on certain days and between certain times, and no objectionable music, movies or video games is popular with the “get off my lawn” crowd. unfortunately for them, that demographic is dying off.

#23 l3wis on 05.07.09 at 11:45 am

Yeah, thought they were the party of FREEDOM and LIBERTY?

#24 Ghost of Dude on 05.07.09 at 12:39 pm

Only if they’re attempting to liberate you by force.

#25 l3wis on 05.07.09 at 1:12 pm

Or the right to own a small arsenal.

#26 Ghost of Dude on 05.07.09 at 2:01 pm

I agree with them there. Own a large arsenal for all I care. It’s your right.

#27 l3wis on 05.07.09 at 5:17 pm

Damn right! BTW, I have been thinking about buying a pistol, just so I can say I am a gun carrying liberal – for irony reasons. Let’s go shopping sometime. I just won’t buy bullets.

#28 hosepheffer on 05.07.09 at 5:39 pm

Instead of barney rubble, i’ll have to start calling you barney fife.

#29 l3wis on 05.07.09 at 5:56 pm

I’m not a big Mayberry fan, didn’t Fife not have bullets in his gun because they didn’t trust him with them? Funny.

Once time in HS I accidently shot a hole thru the dash of my friends car. He was driving down the road and he told me to open the cubby hole and there was a 22 pistol in there. I had never seen one before, but they look like a cap gun, and I thought that’s what it was, so I shot it. Our ears were ringing for an hour.

#30 Ghost of Dude on 05.07.09 at 8:27 pm

Damn right! BTW, I have been thinking about buying a pistol, just so I can say I am a gun carrying liberal – for irony reasons. Let’s go shopping sometime. I just won’t buy bullets.

No prob. Hell, most people who know me on the internets seem to think I’m a liberal too. Except I own enough weapons to qualify as a moderate.
The best thing would be to go to Gary’s and try one out first – which is half the fun of shopping.
Then buy one for the hell of it. If you really want to be ironic, get a CCP too.

#31 l3wis on 05.08.09 at 6:25 am

“I don’t know how you guys walk around with those things.” – Elaine (Seinfeld)

#32 Ghost of Dude on 05.08.09 at 2:38 pm

Very carefully. If you walk around with a gun in your wasteband like some idiots do, you’re liable ot go off half-cocked.

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