Pubdate: Tue, 22 Aug 2000
Source: Argus Leader (SD)
Copyright: 2000 Argus Leader
Contact:  P.O. Box 5034, Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5034
Fax: (605) 331-2294
Author: Gary F. Storck


The recent Argus-Leader recent article about the quadriplegic who uses
marijuana to control muscle spasms and was arrested and jailed, and now
faces trial, points up the need for medical marijuana legislation

That the Drug Enforcement Agency is considering penalizing the man's doctor
for writing a note on his patient's behalf points up the cruelty of the
ongoing suppression of medical marijuana by federal authorities. The doctor
should be lauded for upholding his oath, instead of being threatened for
showing compassion in trying to ease his patient's suffering.

The intention of the DEA is to deprive doctors of their First Amendment
right of freedom of speech, and if they prevail, it will mean more needless
suffering for patients who could find relief through marijuana.

That the DEA is even involved in a matter best left between patient and
physician is not only a waste of our tax dollars, but illustrative of a
failed drug war mentality placing adherence to the senseless prohibition of
marijuana ahead of people's health and well being.

There is plenty of scientific evidence supporting the medical utility of
marijuana. A prime source is the federal government commissioned Institute
of Medicine Report, released in 1999. Legal prescription drugs have many
side effects, and kill 100,000 per year. Marijuana has no toxic dose and has
never caused a death by overdose.

Subjecting our sick and dying to such cruelty is a violation of everything
America is supposed to stand for.

Illness can strike anyone at any time. Every therapeutic option should be
available and open to discussion by doctors and their patients.

Gary F. Storck, Madison, Wis.
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