Open Letter to Governor Dayton re. Medical Marijuana
by Glen Wallace
Governor Dayton, your decision to defer to law enforcement in deciding the medical marijuana issue demonstrates an abdication of your responsibility as governor to make decisions on public matters such as the medical marijuana issue. If you think it is acceptable for law enforcement to make the call on this issue, why stop there? Why not cede the governorship entirely over to a consortium of Minnesota law enforcement associations? After all, with medical marijuana, you are already allowing law enforcement to have authority over an area very dear to the citizens in how they treat their own bodies in regards to a field that law enforcement has absolutely no expertise — medicine. It seems like you have already jumped into the slippery slope of creating a totalitarian police state. Why put the brakes on now?
A hallmark of a police state is that the state puts a priority on what law enforcement wants over the basic human rights of the citizens. With the medical marijuana issue, you, governor Dayton, has done just that — you have put the wants and desires of law enforcement ahead of the basic inalienable right of Minnesota’s citizens to treat their own bodies medically as they see fit. But a hallmark of a free country, that we are supposed to be living in, is to put the inalienable rights of its citizens ahead of the desires of law enforcement. Sure legalizing marijuana will make the job of cops more difficult and therefore they will oppose such legislation. But given that the ability to use medical marijuana is a basic human right, in a free country laws should allow it and law enforcement just has to find ways to work around such laws. That is just the way it is or is supposed to be in a free country that is not a police state and respects the inalienable rights of its citizens. But in a police state, it is the other way around where the citizens have to somehow find a way to navigate their way around police state laws in their quest for to live a life with some glimmer of freedom. And effectively, with the medical marijuana issue, we are already living in police state where otherwise law-abiding, upstanding, honest hard working citizens of the state of Minnesota have to delve into the underworld of the illegal drug trade in a quest to relieve the suffering of their loved ones through the use of medical marijuana.
Governor Dayton, while many people have focused their criticism over the resistance to the passage of the Compassionate Care Act on the unwillingness of law enforcement to consider approving the act, I have have not. You, by your threat to veto, are responsible for jeopardizing the possibility for thousands of Minnesotans to ease the anguish and agony of diseases that would be ameliorated or be completely removed by medical marijuana. Members of law enforcement are only doing what comes naturally to them — they want to preserve or enact laws that make their job easier. But what you must remember is that there is often a conflict between laws that make law enforcement’s job easier and laws that protect the basic human rights of the citizens of a state. I’m sure it would be easier for cops if they didn’t have to Mirandize suspects upon arrest. It sure would be easier for cops if they could just search any premise without a warrant as well. It would be easier for law enforcement officers not to have to go to court and testify in a case but instead be able to act as a judge and jury right there in the street and declare guilt or innocence and hand out any punishment on the suspect right there in the street. But since we don’t entirely live in a police state, cops just have to find a way to navigate through all the ‘hoops and ladders’ that make their job more difficult. And because we still live in a semi-free country we don’t defer to law enforcement community to decide if warrantless searches should be allowed or if cops should be allowed to meter out punishment on the streets. And under the pretense that we are living in a free country and state, you shouldn’t be deferring to law enforcement to decide if the citizens of Minnesota should continue allowing cops to throw in jail and swipe away medical marijuana from the hands of anyone desperately trying to ease their pain and suffering through the use of an herb that seems to have been put on this planet by the Creator as a gift to humanity for the purposes that the Compassionate Care Act would allow.