Before Saturday’s event with Rep. Jay Inslee and Drug Czar Kerlikowske, a local medical marijuana patient named Ric Smith showed up. Smith, who lives nearby in Shoreline, wanted to ask Kerlikowske a question about why he went from being sympathetic to the medical marijuana community as Seattle’s police chief to amplifying old propaganda as the Drug Czar. Unfortunately, the meeting was closed to regular citizens, so he wasn’t allowed into the rooms set aside for either the roundtable or the media Q&A.
What’s even worse, had Smith been able to ask his question, it’s not clear that Kerlikowske could legally have given him an honest answer. By law, the Drug Czar must oppose any efforts to legalize any Schedule I drug, even for medical use. As drug law reformers have pointed out, that puts Kerlikowske in a position where he’s mandated to distort the truth and deny science. In fact, several commenters from Saturday’s post got on my case for even expecting an honest answer from him.
As a medical marijuana patient, though, the stakes are clearly higher for Smith. For his privacy, I won’t go into details on his medical condition, but it’s possible that he could one day meet the same fate as Timothy Garon, the Seattle man who died last year after being denied a transplant over his medical marijuana use.
Unlike any of the gullible morons who’ve been disrupting town hall meetings this week for the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, Smith actually does have to worry about decisions being made by government officials that could effect whether he lives or dies. If there’s anyone in this country who had a good reason to disrupt a recent town hall and make a scene over the government inserting themselves between patients and doctors, it was him. Yet instead, as the local TV crews started bringing in their cameras, he shook my hand and quietly walked out the door.