I’m glad I’ve lived long enough to be able to vote on a “right to
Also glad that the
Legislature worked out a compromise bill on the “right to repair”
issue, so that both sides are now urging voters to reject Question 1
and I don’t have to understand it.
I understand Question
2, and feel so strongly about it that I once hoped to do an
initiative petition on the subject myself, starting a new
organization called “Whose life is it, anyhow?” when I found the
time. Now I’m the age where I might soon appreciate the right to
choose “death with dignity.”
Of course, we must
honor those whose religious beliefs don’t allow them this choice;
nothing in Question 2 keeps them from clinging to the last painful
hours of their lives if they want.
The strangest argument
the “No” side uses is that “life is a gift.” Yes, it is, one for
which I am grateful every day of my life: Thanks again, God. Now,
this gift belongs to me, and I can choose how I want to use it.
Thank you, God, for giving me free will. Thank you, Founding
Fathers, for the First Amendment, which doesn’t allow any religion
to impose itself on those who don’t belong to it. Finally, thank
you, “Yes on dignity” campaign, for collecting all those signatures,
giving me and other voters a chance to pass this law.
One argument used by
opponents is that people can commit suicide now if they want to,
though by generally more violent means. I’d posit that fewer people
will prematurely kill themselves when receiving a bad medical
prognosis if they know that if they enjoy a few months more of life
to the point of physical weakness, they will receive assistance when
they are finally really ready to go. So Question 2 becomes
life-enhancing, as well as merciful.
Easy stuff out of the
way, on to Question 3, “Medical use of marijuana.” You might think
that the same principle of self-empowerment that drives Question 2
would apply here: my body, my choice to use marijuana. If the issue
was this straightforward, I’d easily vote yes. I have no desire to
use marijuana or any other drug that messes in any way with my mind,
unless there’s a medical condition that is already interfering with
my enjoyment of said mind and life. So if everyone was like me,
there’d be no reason to forbid marijuana prescriptions, just as now
there’s no reason to forbid prescribing OxyContin or morphine to
Wait! I seem to recall
that a few years ago, Congressman Stephen Lynch wanted to make
OxyContin illegal for everyone because kids in his district were
abusing it. I thought this was crazy: Make sick people endure their
pain because some idiots are abusing the drugs that relieve it?
This argument is
similar to the argument against casinos: Some people are weak and
will become addicted gamblers; so people who just enjoy occasional
gaming shouldn’t be allowed to? Prohibition also catered to
potential addicts, trying to forbid something normally pleasant that
some will abuse.
Marijuana has been
proven to help people suffering from some terrible illnesses and
difficult treatments. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be prescribed
by our doctors if they think it will help us. We can just take the
prescription to our local pharmacy, along with our blood pressure
and cholesterol prescriptions, and get it filled.
Wait! Question 3
creates 35 state distribution centers for marijuana prescriptions
centers, as well as letting people grow it at home. We can’t take
the prescription to our local pharmacy because even if Massachusetts
made medical marijuana legal, the federal government still considers
it illegal and this interferes with our pharmacies carrying it.
The many abuses of the
law in California have led to the state shutting down some
distribution centers there. Hey, all I want is to inhale a little
plant if I’m feeling nauseated!
I thought an easy way
out of this question might be Marinol, the synthetic marijuana that
is said to have some of the same positive effects. Checked it out at
my local pharmacy: 60 pills cost $1,000. Whoa. Pass me some little
plants and a box of dirt for my sunny windowsill.
Here’s where it gets
tricky. My friends at the Small Property Association say that
“Question 3 on the November ballot poses problems for landlords”
because of the provision allowing pot to be grown at home, combined
with landlords’ legal inability to choose their tenants and control
their premises; “Though the ballot question gives protection against
forfeiture and arrest under state law, it offers no protection from
the federal forfeit laws under which no amount of marijuana is
If the feds raid the
building and find the plants, they can charge the landlord and take
the entire building — just as they can take your home, car or boat
if they find an illegal substance there. Bet some of you didn’t know
So, No on 1, Yes on 2,
and I don’t yet know what to do on 3.