Those who believe that states should have the right to set their own policies on things like medical marijuana might want to compare and contrast the leading Republican contender and the Democrat incumbent on the issue.

Here’s Newt Gingrich:

Three Republican presidential candidates have shown an openness to handing over control of drugs and medical marijuana to the states. Would you continue the current federal policy making marijuana illegal in all cases or give the states more control?

I would continue current federal policy, largely because of the confusing signal that steps towards legalization sends to harder drugs.

I think the California experience is that medical marijuana becomes a joke. It becomes marijuana for any use. You find local doctors who will prescribe it for anybody that walks in.

Never mind that you could say the same thing about doctors who prescribe pain-killers for sniveling cowards who complain of pain but who really lack moral fiber!

He says he changed his mind from his previous position because of what he calls a “change of information”:

In 1981, you introduced a bill that would allow marijuanto be used for medical purposes. What has changed?

What has changed was the number of parents I met with who said they did not want their children to get the signal from the government that it was acceptable behavior and that they were prepared to say as a matter of value that it was better to send a clear signal on no drug use at the risk of inconveniencing some people, than it was to be compassionate toward a small group at the risk of telling a much larger group that it was okay to use the drug.

It’s a change of information. Within a year of my original support of that bill I withdrew it.

Parents said it was better to inconvenience some people than send a signal to children that it was okay to use marijuana for medical purposes? And that was new information to Newt? I’m wondering what these same parents think about sending children the signal that it’s OK to use narcotics for pain, or give children speed for “ADHD.”  If we are governed by a “sending a signal to a child” standard, I fail utterly to understand the distinction.

OK, so with that in mind, let’s look at federal policies under Barack Obama:

The federal government is in the midst of a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries across the state of California.

This is despite repeated claims from President Obama and his Department of Justice that theywould not devote federal resources to circumventing state medical marijuana laws.

In other words, vote for “change” under Obama, and you get vintage 1980s Gingrich. What kind of “signal” does that send the children? That if millions of voters in a state favor legislative change, the all-knowing, all-powerful, federal government will nonetheless stand in their way with lethal force?

And the leaders of both parties agree?

A hell of a way to teach basic civics, much less respect for the Constitution.