Feds won't budge on pot's medicinal value

So let's get this straight: Uncle Sam says you can gobble up addictive and dangerous painkillers until you're a crazed, self-medicating, drug-addled junkie -- but smoke a little pot on your doctor's advice, and you'll go directly to jail.

Do not pass "GO," do not collect $500 -- and don't expect the government to give you the right to seek safe relief from conditions such as cancer pain and glaucoma.

In the latest defense of Big Pharma's best-selling pain meds, the Department of Justice ruled that marijuana has no medical value at all, can't be used safely and has a high potential for abuse even when given under a doctor's supervision.

What the heck are they smoking in D.C. these days? It must be stronger than pot if it prevents them from seeing the hundreds of thousands of patients who are right now using marijuana safely, effectively -- and under a doctor's supervision.

I don't want to get into the politics of it -- it's a losing battle either way -- so let's just look at the science here: Studies have shown it can bring some very real relief to some very sick patients -- including the cancer and glaucoma patients who swear by it.

Other promising studies have shown that MJ can help fight multiple sclerosis, depression, arthritis and numerous forms of pain. Some veterans say it helps fight post-traumatic stress disorder, and a study on this is about to get under way.

As far as safety goes, don't let the image of a foggy-headed stoner fool you: Pot is neither addictive nor dangerous and comes with no lasting side effects when used in therapeutic doses.

Just about the only strike against it is that it's cheap and it can't be patented -- so it represents a clear and present danger to the drug industry.

And that's why your government is so quick to block it every chance it can get.

Look, I'm no dummy -- I know there's a flipside to this, and you can see it anytime you want by booking a flight to Los Angeles or Denver, where all you need is a vague complaint and a 10-minute meeting with a "pot doc" to get your own medical marijuana prescription.

I won't say it's right -- but I'll say that's the tradeoff of living in a free society, and one I'm willing to make if it means easier access to marijuana for the people who really need it.