Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2000
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2000 West Hawaii Today
Contact:  P.O. Box 789, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96745-0789
Fax: 808-329-4860
Author: Conrad L. Wareham



The U.S. Supreme Court will soon be deciding whether Proposition 215 and 
similar medical marijuana laws in eight other states D Alaska, Arizona, 
Oregon, Washington, Maine, Colorado, Nevada and Hawaii are constitutional 
in nature.

To advocates and detractors of medical marijuana use, the impending high 
court decision could have far-reaching effects. To the former it could mean 
relief to millions of people suffering from the effects of old age and 
disease. To the latter it could mean having to change their perceptions and 
attitude about marijuana in general.

The controversy about using marijuana for medical purposes really boils 
down to the age-old struggle between liberty and authority.

Liberty has always meant protection against the tyranny of political 
rulers. In modern society liberty also means protection against the tyranny 
of legislatures, who acting on the cultural or political sentiments of the 
majority, imposes an arbitrary "rule of law" on the minority.

Marijuana is a plant that has been around longer than man. Its historical 
commercial use is well known. The fact that the plant has so many uses that 
are beneficial to society makes any rational being wonder why laws were 
created in our country to ban its use?

In general, the odious perception of marijuana use seems to come from 
people who are not familiar with its beneficial uses, companies that would 
suffer from competition due to the plant's economic potential, and law 
enforcement agencies whose funding and mission agendas revolve around the 
current status quo of drug enforcement laws.

In particular, the legalization of medical marijuana is not encouraged by 
the pharmaceutical companies because, for obvious reasons cannabis would be 
competition to many of their highly priced drugs.

We have to face the fact that with old age painful medical problems develop 
with the aging of the body. Pharmaceutical companies have developed many 
drugs to assist people in coping with the ailments of old age, but for many 
the price for these drugs is too high.

Marijuana is an inexpensive remedy for many of the pains of the body. It 
doesn't take scientific research, expert medical testimony, or government 
agency findings to determine the value in medical marijuana as a medicine. 
Let experience be the judge.

Our reasoning about cause and effect or what we call "matter of fact" in 
the scientific community, as well as in society, is based on experience. 
Just because we have never seen an electron doesn't mean that we disregard 
all our notions about electrical theory. For the same reason, just because 
the detractors of medical marijuana can't understand how it helps people in 
their medical ailments doesn't mean we should throw out the baby with the 
bath water.

It seems that the stigma about marijuana dates back to the cultural 
revolution of the 1960s when a generation of young people showed the desire 
to break from the cultural norms of our society, and were checkmated by the 
"rule of law."

We are still dealing with that "rule of law" imposed on society by a past 
generation, and held in place by our stoic government institutions.

Let's hope that our high court does not occupy itself with what society 
should or shouldn't accept in personal choices, but rather that liberty 
take precedent over "rule of law" in personal medical choices.

Conrad L. Wareham

- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens