Weekly Standard Exposé: Pot Prohibition Promotes Pretense, Paranoia

By Jacob Sullum

Matt Labash has an amusing, informative, and frequently astute report on Michigan’s medical marijuana industry in the latest issue of The Weekly Standard. As in California, he finds, it’s not hard to qualify as a patient who is permitted to use cannabis under state law, and many people who do so have common complaints (such as back pain and migraine headaches) that are difficult to verify and may simply be a cover for recreational use. Likewise, the people who go into the business of supplying patients with marijuana include budding entrepreneurs and black-market dealers going semi-legit as well as sincere Good Samaritans who are keen to help people suffering from debilitating conditions such as AIDS wasting syndrome and the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. This being The Weekly Standard, Labash’s emphasis is on the shadier patients and suppliers, and the title of his piece is “Going to Pot: The Medical Marijuana Charade.”

But which charade is Labash talking about? It’s not the claim that marijuana is a useful medicine.