The National Review's Deroy Murdock tracks Ashcroft's war on pot: The Justice Department has appealed a December 2003 federal court decision that barred Uncle Sam from impeding Californians who use personally grown, locally cultivated, or charitably donated medical marijuana. In Raich v. Ashcroft, the Ninth Circuit correctly disallowed the Constitution's commerce-clause rationale for federal intervention. After all, how can interstate commerce include intrastate, noncommercial activity? Rather than accept defeat and confront genuine dangers, Attorney General John Ashcroft seeks Supreme Court permission to keep raiding medical-marijuana suppliers and harassing people such as Angel Raich who has used medical marijuana to treat a brain tumor, wasting syndrome, seizures, and more... "We are disappointed, but not surprised, that Attorney General Ashcroft has chosen to ask the Supreme Court for what amounts to a license to attack the sick," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project. "Conservatives should be appalled that the Justice Department is arguing that two patients and their caregivers, growing and using medical marijuana within California — using California seeds, California soil, California water, and California equipment, and engaging in no commercial activity whatsoever — are somehow engaged in 'interstate commerce.'" I'll be the first to admit that while I see instrumental value, in some cases, in local control, I don't see inherent moral worth in it and I'm yet to be convinced that citizens' rights are better protected by granting rights to their states. But it would be good to see more conservatives like Murdock up in arms when the federal government is intervening to stop states from veering left of federal policy rather than only when states want more leeway to, say, poison more groundwater or treat welfare mothers worse than their neighboring states. Good to know I'm not the only one troubled when the Bush Administration sends Condi Rice on television to compare California loosening restrictions on medical marijuana to states resisting federal orders against segregation...


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