Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics

By Rudolph J. Gerber | Go to book overview

THE MEDICAL-LEGAL CONFLICT

Following approval of California’s Proposition 215 in 1998, the Clinton administration announced that passage of such measures would not diminish enforcement of federal marijuana laws. In August 2000, the Department of Justice announced that the federal government would penalize all doctors recommending medical pot by revoking their ability to write prescriptions. Department lawyer Joseph Lobue said in particular that federal officials did not recognize California law or any other state reefer law: “It doesn’t matter what California says,” he announced.

Through drug czar McCaffrey, President Clinton also threatened that the Department of Justice would begin to prosecute physicians recommending marijuana to their patients as well as patients caught using marijuana as medicine. Possible penalties for doctors included exclusion from federally funded Medicaid and Medicare programs, federal criminal charges, and loss of DEA certification to prescribe controlled substances. The administration’s response sought to intimidate pot users and caregivers while maintaining a hard line against pot for political purposes,1 all the while making no mention of the pot experiences of the president, the use of medical marijuana by the sister of Vice President Gore, and the history of the government’s still-continuing Compassionate User Program.

Energized by the government’s threats to prosecute physicians and patients, Senator Lauch Faircloth of North Carolina, a major tobacco supporter, introduced a bill in Congress to provide federal sanctions for medical practitioners who administered, dispensed, or recommended medical marijuana.2 The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee but not carried over after the 1998 congressional session. The

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Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Legalizing Marijuana - Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction xv
  • 1: History of Demonizing Drugs 1
  • 2: Presidential Pot Policies 17
  • 3: Enforcement Practices 61
  • 4: Health Effects 77
  • 5: Seeds of the Medical Marijuana Movement 91
  • 6: The People’s Counterattack 105
  • 7: The Medical-Legal Conflict 121
  • 8: Conclusion: Lessons in Political Unscience 135
  • Notes 155
  • Bibliography 173
  • Index 183
  • About the Author 189
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