Did I get your attention yet? If you are wondering what these chronically ill individuals would have done that is so heinous that I would want them to suffer in prison, you might be a little shocked to hear what it is: they smoked a plant!
Okay I lied, I don't really support imprisoning the chronically ill for smoking a plant, but many people do. I am talking about medical marijuana. In my home state of Minnesota it has been reported frequently on the news (both radio and television) that it is a very likely possibility that there will be a bill on Governor Tim Pawlenty's desk that would decriminalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. He has constantly stated his opposition to such a bill. Pawlenty, who was a key member of John McCain's team when he was running for the Presidency not too long ago, most likely would state the same reasons McCain did when the question was brought to his attention at his numerous town hall meetings: Marijuana has not been proved to be as effective as other drugs in treating chronic pain.
This is an inadequate answer simply because that is not the point. I'm not sure about the United States you have been living in, but I was not aware that if a plant could be used as medicine, but that medicine was not 'proved' to be as good as other drugs, that we then outlawed that plant? The root of the issue is whether or not governments should be allowed to outlaw certain drugs and imprison those who decide to use these 'illegal' drugs on their bodies. I would like to hear Governor Pawlenty explain how he justifies keeping the drugs tobacco and alcohol legal while supporting the continued criminalization of marijuana use.
It simply does not matter whatsoever whether marijuana is 'more effective' medically than other drugs. Tobacco is estimated to kill over 400,000 in the United States each and every year. That is the United States alone. There are no positive benefits of smoking tobacco, yet it is legal. Shouldn't Tim Pawlenty be pushing for tobacco to be made illegal, based on his rationale?
To get back to my point, how can someone say they care about the sick and dying when they support policy that literally imprisons individuals for using these drugs to alleviate chronic pain? It is bad enough that we are limiting people's freedom by waging a war against those who decide to use a given drug, but imprisoning those who have chronic illnesses who have turned to marijuana to alleviate their pain?
The Founding Fathers would not believe it.