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?