Bravo to Ryan Grim for clearly laying out the culpability of Congress in the tragic, completely needless death of quadriplegic Jonathan Magbie (“Congressional Malpractice,” 11/4).
While there is plenty of blame to go around for this legally sanctioned murder (and no, that is not too strong a term), the bottom line is simple: Magbie’s use of marijuana to relieve his spasms should not have been a crime. The District’s citizens voted overwhelmingly to make medical use of marijuana legal. Had Congress not intervened to block the voters’ decision, Jonathan Magbie would never have been sentenced to jail for marijuana possession and almost certainly would be alive today.
All who had a hand in this, from former Congressman Bob Barr to Judge Retchin to the jail authorities, should be forever ashamed. And Congress must get rid of the Barr Amendment before it causes another pointless death.
Director of communications
Marijuana Policy Project