I'd go so far as to say that laws that everyone knows aren't going to be enforced are immoral.

WASHINGTON -- Anyone who lights up a joint for medicinal purposes isn't likely to be pursued by federal authorities, despite a Supreme Court ruling that these marijuana users could face federal charges, people on both sides of the issue say.

In a 6-3 decision, the court on Monday said those who smoke marijuana because their doctors recommend it to ease pain can be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws, overriding medical marijuana statutes in 10 states.

While the justices expressed sympathy for two seriously ill California women who brought the case, the majority agreed that federal agents may arrest even sick people who use the drug as well as the people who grow pot for them.

The ruling could be an early test of the compassion Attorney General Alberto Gonzales promised to bring to the Justice Department following the tenure of John Ashcroft.

Gonzales and his aides were silent on the ruling Monday, but several Bush administration officials said individual users have little reason to worry. "We have never targeted the sick and dying, but rather criminals engaged in drug trafficking," Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Bill Grant said.

Then exempt them from the law! The whole thing is ridiculous, but I don't fault the modern Supreme Court; they're protecting the Constitution no better or worse than the other branches of government, all of which share the responsibility. There are two real problems: first, our government has become very unresponsive to our desires; second, our government has expanded far beyond any reasonable scope. Can you imagine our Founding Fathers sitting around debating what plants people can smoke or setting policy for high school athletics programs?

One problem with politicians, as with many other jobs, is that's it's impossible to just say "no, we've pretty much got all the laws we need" because there are always people clamoring for you to do something about whatever. Plus, if there aren't any new laws needed, why do you have a job? But the fact of the matter is that a legislator who sits on his hands for his whole term is probably the best kind.



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