Almost all of the “recreational” drugs can have medicinal value. See our discussion above about the similarities in effect and chemistry between heroin and Oxy-contin. It isn’t about medicinal value – it’s about the classification of the substances into “legal” versus “illegal” as I laid them out above.
Remember, we aren’t arguing about the utility of the categories. As I pointed out before, if you want to argue against the categorization I will likely agree with you in most instances. The point is whether the “drug warriors” have been consistent within their own classification system. Marijuana = illegal, so it doesn’t serve as a good example for you in this respect.
Now, another digression – I’ve been ignoring this because it was beside the point. However, I will disagree with you on the whole “classist” aspect. I think they focus based on two factors: a) widespread use; and b) association with other crimes. Oxy-contin has garnered more attention recently because of the latter, but previously to the string of robberies I don’t think the feds focused on it. This is a drug nicknamed “Hillbilly heroin” for a reason – it has been widely abused by lower-class and working-class whites in Appalachia, where it first became popular. Similarly, many more middle to lower class people than you would think abuse prescription drugs – although probably not as many up in Oregon, where marijuana is more available, and, I’ve heard, higher quality. But prescription-drug abuse is a large problem for lower and middle classes in the midwest.
It doesn’t seem like you’ve read what I’ve already posted, so I will simply refer you to the above posts where I have laid out the arguments on hypocrisy of the drug warriors, pointed out that this thread is about them and not about Rush, and also pointed out that Rush was a hypocrite on the subject.
I’ll also say that your analogy to “three strikes” is a complete non-sequiter. That law is about punishing recidivism for felonies.
Finally, there are laws against selling “drug paraphenalia” associated with “illegal” drugs – and de facto these apply only to smoking devices (syringes have too many medical applications). But notice how this also fits within the classification – they have made illegal paraphenalia for using “illegal” drugs, but not “legal” drugs.
Zeppelin: I don’t know what Ventura said, but I know the 9th Circuit was hearing arguments about some prosecutions of providers of marijuana in California who were purporting to rely on local medical marijuana laws – at least I think they were relying on those laws. I haven’t followed it too closely. Perhaps Ventura was speculating that case could go up to the Supreme Court eventually.
Wishin: You have brought up an interesting point that I have sort of skirted around. The feds generally use prosecutorial discretion to go after the distributors of illegal drugs, at least with the harsh penalties. They will turn the screws on users in order to attempt to get to the suppliers, but in every case I can remember reading or hearing about, simple users do not get harsh penalties (FYI, I am using “users” and “distributors” here within their meanings under the drug laws, which generally define those terms by the amount of drugs found in a suspect’s possession).
Slight digression of a legal point: I’ve focused on the feds here because they are easier to focus on as a single entity, and because they are the big boys. However, as state courts are courts of general jurisdiction, local prosecutors can bring actions under drug laws in local courts. I’m certain these can be more capricious and more problematic, and that some small users are prosecuted there. This is definitely a problem with the drug laws, and with the whole system (as I said to start out this discussion, I’m generally against the illegality of all but some of the most dangerous drugs). But it does not implicate the question at hand, which is whether the “drug warriors” – Ashcroft et al at the federal level – are hypocrites.