Nice Try on Medical Pot Smokers, Journal

June 30th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

By Tracy Dingmann

The Journal ran an editorial on licensed medical marijuana smokers on June 29 that was high on sarcasm and low on logic.

The editorial “Is Politics a Factor for Licensed Pot Smokers?” was built around this argument:

“Are counties dominated by liberal Democrats more likely to have conditions that warrant treatment with medical marijuana than those where conservative Republicans are in the majority?”

As “evidence,” it used statistics compiled by the state Department of Health and further extrapolated by Journal investigative reporter Thom Cole, who took county-by-county numbers for licensed medical marijuana users and census data and came up with county per capita rates.

From the editorial:

Those figures show that Sierra County, home to Truth or Consequences, ranked No. 1, all of the counties that make up heavily Democratic north-central New Mexico made the top 10 for users. Conservative southern and eastern counties dominated the bottom 10, with Lea County holding down the bottom spot. Bernalillo County, the state’s most populous, was 12th.

Under New Mexico’s medical marijuana law, a person must have a qualifying medical condition to become a licensed user. The No. 1 qualifying condition is post-traumatic stress disorder, followed by chronic pain and cancer, according to the Health Department.

So is it political inclination, location or some other mystifying factor that appears to group legal pot smokers unevenly around the state? Just asking.

In their eagerness to make sport of New Mexico’s medical marijuana program, the Journal’s editors attempt to use empirical data to make an arch political point. It’s reminiscent of the “all you liberal Democrats are just pot-smoking hippies” argument – and it’s a little old.

Ridiculously, the Journal tries to make a connection between political orientation and medical conditions. It’s also quite clear that Journal editors think something is wrong with someone who avails themselves of the state’s legal medical marijuana program for relief from the pain of their medical condition.

But the dots don’t connect on their argument.

It’s confusing, because the Journal has, in the past, expressed editorial support for the establishment of the state’s medical marijuana program.

So, Journal editors, if you don’t like the state’s medical marijuana program now, why don’t you just come out and say so – instead of trying to concoct an argument based on figures that don’t mean anything close to what you are trying to say?

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Keith Morris

    The Journal editors, at best, defeat their own argument by admitting that “[t]he No. 1 qualifying condition is post-traumatic stress disorder”. If that is the case, then the No. 1 patient in search of medical marijuana is a returning military veteran. Veterans are neither predominately liberal or predominately conservative. How do they reconcile that?

    At worst, the editors are so cynical and political that they would deny medical care to wounded veterans in order to advance their anti-MM position? WTF? This may be a new low.

  • Roland

    The ABQ Journal also reveals its biases when it frames the issue with only two alternatives: “So is it political inclination, location or some other mystifying factor that appears to group legal pot smokers unevenly around the state?” The obvious third possibility (one that is not so “mystifying”) is that the needs of potential legal users of medical marijuana are not as likely to be met in Hobbs as in, for example, Santa Fe. The Journal assumes that medical marijuana users have “grouped themselves” throughout the state, as if the non-random distribution could be explained by a stereotypic “liberal Democrat = pot-head” model. There obviously are many veterans, cancer patients, and others in the southeastern “Texican” corner of the state, but they are not as likely to have their legitimate needs for medical marijuana met, hence they won’t appear in the statistics on legal users in those portions of the state.

  • Tracy Dingmann

    Exactly, Roland. That is just the point I was trying to make – thank you for making it for me!

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