May 19, 2009
Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota's Republican governor (pictured below), has "great empathy for the sick." I know it's true because he said so.
He just thinks they belong in jail if they need medical marijuana.
He announced his intention to veto the medical marijuana bill at his news conference today. Then, amazingly, he went on to wax rhapsodic about how "The sky is blue, the sun is out. The minds of Minnesotans are turning to Memorial Day, summer, fishing."
Tell that to Joni Whiting, whose daughter Stephanie gained some comfort and the ability to eat from medical marijuana during the last months of her doomed struggle with melanoma. Pawlenty thinks it's just fine to treat Joni, Stephanie, and others in that dreadful situation as common criminals.
Bear in mind that the bill the governor says he'll veto is so drastically narrowed down that none of the purported concerns of law enforcement, whose direction he's supposedly been taking, have even a shred of validity. As passed, it would only have covered terminally ill patients, and even they wouldn't have been allowed to grow their own marijuana.
Pawlenty reportedly has national ambitions. Maybe he thinks there's a large block of voters out there who think cancer patients belong in jail. Or maybe he's just heartless. In any case, you can count on talk of a 2010 constitutional amendment -- which would bypass the governor -- to get a lot more serious.