Christie’s no conservative on medical marijuana issue | Commentary | -- Your State. Your News.

Apr 01st
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Christie’s no conservative on medical marijuana issue

SabrinM012810_optBY MURRAY SABRIN

Last week the Christie administration created new rules for dispensing medical marijuana in New Jersey. Instead of allowing patients who desire to alleviate pain and other ailments relatively easy access to marijuana as the law requires, the Christie administration has reduced the number of authorized dispensaries, will require patients to be certified by a state review panel, and physicians must document that other pain remedies have been ineffective after treating a patient for at least a year. In addition, a patient must suffer from one of nine diseases to be eligible to obtain medical marijuana, among other restrictions.

If these rules stand, the Christie administration will have failed a critical litmus test. A true conservative, who is supposed to be a proponent of limited government and individual liberty, would defend unequivocally the doctor-patient relationship, which is supposed to be sacrosanct, just like the individual-clergy relationship. But in our statist society, nothing is sacrosanct except big government and the trampling of individual rights.

Free individuals should not need government permission to treat an illness with a plant. A free individual should be able to decide the proper course of treatment for any medical condition.

The Christie administration is turning its back on individuals, some of whom I first met on the campaign trail during the 1997 gubernatorial campaign. They were crying out for compassion, a change in the law that would not brand them as criminals, because they wanted to use one of nature's gifts, a plant, to alleviate their pain from MS and other conditions.

As an unabashed proponent of individual liberty I supported a change in the law in 1997 to allow New Jerseyans to use medical marijuana. My opponents, Governor Whitman and Mayor/Senator McGreevey, opposed the legalization of medical marijuana, revealing that statism is embraced by the vast majority of politicians from both major parties. Is it any wonder that our liberties have been systematically destroyed for more than a 100 years?

The Christie administration should embrace the wise words of John Stuart Mill and other champions of a free society and demonstrate he is indeed a defender of liberty.

‘‘The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant."

The Christie administration has an opportunity to return basic freedoms to New Jerseyans. Instead, the governor apparently thinks flexing his "drug warrior" muscles may endear him to the statists in the GOP, whose support he would need if he has a desire for higher political office.

Murray Sabrin is professor of finance at Ramapo College. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for governor in 1997 and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2000 and 2008. Check for more of his writings.


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Comments (6)
6 Friday, 26 November 2010 00:57
Anti Cannabis is not a conservative value--the founders approved of Cannabis.
5 Tuesday, 12 October 2010 11:11
"The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, DEPRIVING THE SICK OF NEEDED HELP [capitals added], and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents... Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy ... and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with 'scientific support' ... fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others"

-- William F. Buckley, Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495
4 Tuesday, 12 October 2010 10:01
Hank Johnson
He's definitely not backed by the Tea Party anymore. Sarah Palin and Ron Paul have not just supported the idea of less government control and expansion but are on record for stating that Americans adults should be able to use marijuana in the privacy of their own homes without the fear of big government spying on their personal lives, effectively invading our privacy.
The GOP needs to distant themselves from Christy’s form of politics which hinges on the Democrat’s form of government expansionism. His micromanaging paradigm of overseeing his State and his constituents is not 21st century.
3 Monday, 11 October 2010 23:32
joe spinal
the doctor a patient is seeing chooses not to register for the medical marijuana program because he/she personally doesn't believe in the herb being utilized for medicinal purposes? such is the situation i believe i will find myself in. it appears that gov. christie's personal beliefs unquestionably supercede the rights and personal liberties of passed legislation and the citizens of new jersey. it is a sad commentary on the state of affairs for this proud country when the freedom of its citizens suffers such a fate.
2 Monday, 11 October 2010 17:05
It's refreshing to hear a traditional conservative for a change, who, as such, believes that the govt. should not make one's personal choices for them. I really wish there were more of you.
1 Monday, 11 October 2010 14:37
Excellent article with very good points often overlooked by the mainstream press. Thanks for your input. Keep up the good work!

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