Patrick Kennedy’s unexpected challenge to marijuana legalization

Ed Gogek, a self-described “lifelong partisan Democrat” and physician who serves on the board of Keep AZ Drug Free, published an op-ed in the New York Times arguing that his party should not embrace legalization.

Democrats have long pilloried Republicans for ignoring science, he wrote, but they’ve done just that when it comes to marijuana: liberals “insist weed isn’t addictive, despite every addiction society saying it is.”

Medical marijuana laws, he argued, are also a sham. They were sold as a salve for the seriously ill. But in Oregon and Colorado, he wrote, 94 percent of cardholders get marijuana for pain, “easy to fake and almost impossible to disprove.”

I’ve “spent 25 years as a doctor treating drug abusers, and I know their games,” Gogek wrote. “They’re excellent con artists.”

Patrick Kennedy, who has famously struggled with alcohol and drugs, is intimately familiar with addicts’ obfuscations. But it is a sensitivity to the perils of abuse that drew him to the cause.

“I’m not just a casual bystander,” he told the Washington Post. “I’m ready to stake my reputation. I still consider myself having a public responsibility. The weight of evidence is so overwhelming that I don’t think it’s responsible not to speak out on this.”

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