With any luck, this whole drug-baby legislation fiasco is going to blow up in Terri Lynn Weaver's face so bad that she won't be allowed to sponsor bills anymore. We already talked about how the law simply does not do what she claims it does — only address the worst of the worst.
Well, we're back with another problem with Weaver's bill. As you recall, a couple of weeks ago Mallory Loyola was the first woman to be charged under the new law after her baby tested positive for methamphetamines. Except the wording of the law is "narcotic drug."
Tennessee state law defines “narcotic drug” as opium, opiates, coca leaves or any compound, derivative or preparation of such substances. But while “opiate” is generally defined in medical or scientific terms as relating to or resembling opium or morphine — and that would include heroin — the definition under Tennessee’s statute also alludes to any substance “being capable of conversion into a drug having addiction-forming or addiction-sustaining liability.”
Yet on the House floor back in April, Weaver declared repeatedly that her legislation “only deals with cocaine and heroin.” She never mentioned methamphetamine or any other banned substance.
Oops. On two levels. Oops, how do they keep Loyola in jail when they've charged her for a crime that doesn't exist? Oops, how in the fuck does Weaver write a bill that leaves out one of Tennessee's favorite drugs to abuse?
Honestly. I don't know if it's more embarrassing that Weaver put forth this bill or that everyone voted for it and none of them noticed that it didn't cover meth. And our Governor? What about him? Mr. "I'm going to hear from everyone (except women suffering from drug addiction because yuck) and then think lofty thoughts and come to the right conclusion" Haslam? He also didn't notice that the law seemed to leave out a lot of uppers?
There used to be a lot of world-weary conservatives, men like, oh, say, Clint Eastwood, who had probably tried everything back in the day and who now are devoted to making sure that the ugliest of humanity's excesses don't hurt civilized society. We don't seem to have conservatives like that in Tennessee. We have a lot of frightened prudes legislating from a position that seems to believe all urban legends are true. (We have AIDS because an airline pilot fucked a monkey. All drugs are opiates. All babies born dependent on drugs are going to be as bad off as crack babies. Etc. Etc.) It'd be nice if we could get some of the former, even if only to advise the latter on how not to make us look like fools in front of the whole country.