By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
If the N.C. Democratic Party had its way, medical marijuana would be welcomed to North Carolina, while the death penalty and the Marriage Protection Amendment would be sent packing. Resolutions involving these issues were among 77 endorsed by the statewide organization at its convention June 16.
Citing “the inability of same-sex couples to enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex couples,” and asserting that a person’s sexual orientation is “a part of their identity about which they have no choice,” the anti-MPA resolution claims that the Marriage Protection Amendment “discriminates against all unmarried couples,” “undercuts child custody and visitation laws,” “ends protection for unmarried victims of domestic violence” and harms the state’s identity as a “forward-thinking and tolerant state that is a good place to live and do business.”
According to the resolution, the amendment puts North Carolina on the “wrong side of history.”
“It is hard to understand why the Democratic Party is taking such a position when North Carolinians who went to the polls May 8 clearly believe otherwise — by a margin of 61 to 39 percent,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “It’s even more disturbing to see party resolutions adopted that continue to propagate myths about the effects of the two-sentence amendment, which has nothing to do with child custody or domestic violence.”
Furthering its support for the homosexual agenda, the party called for Congress to redefine marriage as the legal union of both same-sex and opposite-sex couples and to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The resolution cited similar efforts to add a “marriage equality” plank to the national Democratic platform in Charlotte in September. The state party also resolved that June should be “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month,” in North Carolina.
The Democratic Party’s push against the death penalty, though not surprising, may also be going against the grain in the Tar Heel state, according to at least one poll conducted last spring. The John W. Pope Civitas Institute found that 70 percent of voters it surveyed favored the death penalty for first-degree murder and that support for capital punishment was bipartisan, with 63 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of unaffiliated voters approving of it.
Unfortunately, the state party’s embracing of medical marijuana seems to reflect a national shift among Democrats as 134 of their members in Congress (72 percent) voted for a bill in May that would end enforcement of federal drug laws on users who are in compliance with medical marijuana laws now in effect in some 17 states and the District of Columbia. The bill, supported by just 29 Republicans, was defeated.
The N.C. Democratic Party resolution suggests that doctors be able to prescribe marijuana just as they do other drugs, many of which are known to be “extremely dangerous when misused,” and it refers to marijuana as “an effective drug for treatment of certain human ailments.”
However, the FDA has found “no sound scientific studies” to support the use of marijuana as a treatment. Instead, the agency has approved a few medications that contain synthetic THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active chemical in the cannabis plant, and is considering a new marijuana-derived mouth spray called Sativex for relieving muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients.
Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist as well as a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, exposes just some of the problems of viewing marijuana as a viable medicine.
“Marijuana is, after all, not a uniform, well-defined material. Different plant strains and batches vary radically in their levels of psychoactive substances and in the contaminants — fungi, bacteria, pesticides, heavy metals and other substances — they contain. Products made without any proof of quality control may be ineffective or harmful, and at best, the long-term inhalation of the combustion products of plant material is certainly unhealthy,” he wrote in the March 28 issue of Forbes magazine, adding. “It is difficult to see how inhaled herbal cannabis could ever become a federally approved medication. In their 1999 report, the Institute of Medicine’s panel of experts flatly rejected the idea that herbal (usually smoked) cannabis would ever be considered a safe and effective medicine for widespread use.”
To see the results of allowing marijuana use for so-called “medical purposes,” one need look no further than California where it was legalized in 1996 and has led to a huge, for-profit marijuana industry that supplies many healthy people with the drug.
“Marijuana sales most often to citizens who have obtained sham doctor’s recommendations solely for the purpose of recreational use are the basis of a massive, massive commercial industry,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. told CNN last fall.
Benjamin Wagner, federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of California, added that people “often with criminal records, are coming to California to set up marijuana operations,” and that “huge amounts of marijuana,” are being flown out of the state and sold elsewhere.
The Rev. James Butler, executive director of the California Council on Alcohol Problems, said the state’s medicinal use law is so broad that many young and healthy people already have access to the drug, which studies have linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and schizophrenia.
That increased access to all — not just the very ill — is the ultimate goal of many who advocate for medicinal use laws.
“One cannot escape the suspicion that the real agenda of many medical marijuana enthusiasts is legalization in order to sanction recreation use via the back door,” Miller concluded.
Dr. Creech said increasing pot smoking among teens, after years of decline, is another result of states’ embracing medicinal marijuana. “This is one more reason lawmakers in North Carolina need to reject any push from the Democratic Party or elsewhere for loosening marijuana laws,” he said. “We can’t expect our children to say no to this drug when we’re legitimizing it by pretending that it’s medicine.”
“I want to be fair,” said Rev. Creech. “I can’t believe every Democrat is in agreement with repealing the marriage amendment, the death penalty and legalizing medical marijuana. Nevertheless, the fact that there were enough who believed these egregious resolutions were worthy of endorsement is most disturbing in the least. It tells us one thing for certain, when voting for a candidate of the Democratic Party; you better know what that he or she believes about these issues.”