Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
Source: Morning News of Northwest Arkansas (AR)
Copyright: 2001, Donrey Media Group
Author: Denele Campbell,
Note: Author is Executive Director for the Alliance for Reform of Drug 
Policy in Arkansas, sponsor of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, a 
citizens' initiative.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


I'm sorry to see from Greg Hoggatt's letter (Public Viewpoint, May 27) that 
he's so upset about efforts to legalize medical use of marijuana. I don't 
quite understand why he's having such a hard time with this. I've had 
several people in law enforcement voice support for such reforms. One of 
them said he didn't know why doctors couldn't prescribe marijuana when they 
could prescribe morphine and cocaine. Another one said that no one wanted 
to arrest or jail sick people.

But that's what our police and deputies have to do under current law. It's 
not their job to selectively enforce the law. The law is the law, and right 
now it doesn't matter if you are dying of cancer and using marijuana to 
help you through chemotherapy -- if you get caught, you're arrested. What a 
waste of taxpayer dollars. What cruelty to people facing so much pain and 

 From previous letters written by Mr. Hoggatt, I assume he is an 
enthusiastic supporter of current prohibition policies. I assume this is 
because he believes drug abuse is bad and current policies are the best answer.

Perhaps he is not aware of a recent study completed at the request of the 
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which concluded that 
the government does not have and never has had any method by which to 
measure the success of its drug policies.

Any fool might observe that current policies aren't working. We're spending 
$40 billion per year, trillions so far. More police, more jails, GIs in 
foreign jungles and herbicides banned in the U.S. being air-dropped on the 
Amazon watershed. Are we winning yet?

Things keep getting worse. We've got methamphetamine labs popping up on 
every corner. Twelve-year-old kids have easier access to LSD and heroin 
than ever before. Addicts desperate for help can't get treatment. I hate to 
break it to Mr. Hoggatt, but this doesn't speak too well for the current 
policies he's so hot to maintain.

Yet to prop up this miserable failure, Mr. Hoggatt would deny sick and 
dying people the legal use of something that makes them feel better.

Mr. Hoggatt tries to make a case that marijuana is somehow not legitimate 
medicine because it doesn't come from a pharmaceutical corporation. Then he 
acknowledges that one of marijuana's key active ingredients is marketed as 
a pharmaceutical. So much for his claim that there is nothing of medical 
value in marijuana.

He claims that marijuana is no good as medicine because it is smoked. If he 
has something against smoking, does he want to make tobacco illegal too? 
Yet smoking is the key to marijuana's success with so many patients. If 
you're puking up your guts, it's kind of hard to take a pill.

(Our Web site) documents real experiences and shows why marijuana is 
critical to the life and health of Arkansas people ... at

Denele Campbell

West Fork
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