Branstad's medical marijuana stand is disappointing

The governor uses typical excuses to dodge thoughtful action.

Our governor has weighed in on medical marijuana, and it's about what you'd expect.

Empathizing is swell, to be sure. But I'm not sure how the governor knows how many people would take advantage of legal medical marijuana. Also, how many people, exactly, does it take to convert empathy into action? Is there a secret formula in the Big Book of Being Governor? Please share.

But I hope the governor uses his "careful" philosophy on the state not helping particular people with particular problems to swiftly rid Iowa's tax code of all its very special gifts, breaks, loopholes and revenue fruit baskets we hand to businesses just for being so darn businessy. Don't hold your breath, folks.

Unintended consequences, along with the slippery slope, are the most bogus of all Statehouse excuses for chronic, politically convenient hand-sitting. Every piece of legislation churned out of the sausage factory carries the risk of unintended consequences. The job of our elected leaders and of staff who help them find their bill drafts with both hands is to avoid, mitigate and guard against those sorts of consequences. It's called lawmaking.

And in this case, we have a clear guide in New Mexico, where a well-crafted medical marijuana program with tight rules and heavy oversight has not led to clouds of pot smoke reducing visibility on area roadways, or even legal recreational use. It has allowed sick people to access the marijuana they and their doctors believe will help them. They tried empathy, but it didn't seem to dent their pain, nausea or seizures.

The same could be done here, with some smart, fearless leadership determined to do the right thing and not just the easiest, safest thing. Again, don't hold your breath. 

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