Tie Rod is trying to catch whatever disease it is that medical marijuana is used to treat, to get ahead of the swerve, so to speak. He is thinking that catching maybe two of those diseases would be better, in case they find a gene or something and cure the first one. And it wouldn't do any good to claim that marijuana cures anything, because then you could only get it however long the government thinks it takes to get over your disease.
How much medical marijuana will the government pay for? How much will be the co-pay? Will a patient have to buy their own if in the doughnut hole? Tie Rod fears that low-income Americans will have to choose two out of three among medical marijuana, Viagra and groceries? Will AARP demand it for seniors?
Who will prescribe it? All mountain doctors who prescribe medicine to alleviate pain are being hunted down now by the feds, and so the one out of 10 of Tie Rod's friends who need pain medicine cannot find a doctor willing to let the word "Lortab" pass their lips.
The long-term question is this: If pot is legalized will we have more Mexicans or less Mexicans? Tie Rod kind of likes Mexicans, but that is probably because he doesn't know what they are saying. But they are short and love chubby women, which are produced in abundance in Tie Rod's dumpling belt. And they will work, something that mountain youth would still do if we were not subsidizing disability.
But the Kentucky mountains are so well suited for the cultivation of non-industrial hemp of rare quality, and Tie Rod's friends have such advanced skills in that sort of agriculture. That is to say they can grow it in a lard can in a smokehouse, that Tie Rod is certain that soon people who live in Mexico will demand Kentucky pot and we can get these Mexicans who have settled here to smuggle it south across the border. Tie Rod has visions of starting him a cartel.
Tie Rod believes that if pot were legal that in four or five years the pain pill problem would go away. He blames it in the first place on the D.A.R.E. program which went into schools and taught kids how to select what pills would hurt them and lied to them about pot. Nancy Reagan was good to Ronnie, but will have a lot to answer for.
Just like he blames Smokey the Bear. He has never been as disappointed in his life. Tie Rod used to adore Smokey the Bear, but always got his voice mixed up with Tony the Tiger. Tony maybe got a lot of kids addicted to sweets, but he did not cause the west to burn. Old Smokey, with that flat hat and that shovel, making one huge mistake, keeping fire out of the forests so long that when the woods do catch fire, thousands of A-framed yuppies who thought they were cool, living at the edge of the forest, are burned out, which drives up Tie Rod's homeowners' premium.
Because Smokey lied and Nancy was foolish, Tie Rod feels justified in not believing all kinds of other stuff, like the warnings on cigarettes or stop signs or how far in your ear you put a Q-tip. During tomato time, he is also pretty agnostic about salt.
Larry Webster is a Pikeville attorney. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org