Who’s Got the Kind?

Kai Wright’s “Herbal Remedy” (1/4) markedly portrays the inadequate state of affairs created by the District’s lack of self-governance. It’s a tragedy that we have seriously ill people who continue to suffer without life-saving medical marijuana. Meanwhile, concerned citizens, desperate to help sick people stay out of jail, have their ballot initiatives and local democracy pummeled by federal overseers. And now it seems leading medical-marijuana advocates disagree on strategy.

Rob Kampia and Wayne Turner are both colleagues of mine, and I consider them dedicated D.C.-based social-justice activists. It’s unfortunate for them that the Washington City Paper chose to focus on their different perspectives on strategy by calling it a “rift.” Medical-marijuana activists can’t afford to emphasize their differences, because there will never be enough people organizing for alternatives to our medieval drug war/health policy.

Until the U.S. government looks at marijuana with honest science and accepts its life-affirming attributes, numerous strategies should be explored to change attitudes and fight for change. Turner argues that this “very bad Congress” is not the time to bring up the medical-marijuana ballot initiative we know will be legislated into irrelevance. He’s probably right about what the members of Congress will do, but if they aren’t challenged, the irrationality of their position will fade away from the public consciousness. If the feds want to overturn the will of D.C. residents after each election, then so be it. Their insult to democracy will foster a continued awakening by people here and across the nation that we in D.C. are second-class citizens and our government doesn’t really care about the seriously ill.

Kampia is working for patients by helping them exercise every legal and medical option. If his suit succeeds in getting another initiative on the ballot, Turner should support this effort to speak truth to power.

Adams Morgan