Pubdate: Sun, 23 Dec 2001
Source: Appleton Post-Crescent (WI)
Copyright: 2001 The Post-Crescent
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Editor, The Post-Crescent:

State legislators Frank Boyle, D-Superior, and Mark Pocan, D-Madison, are 
to be commended for introducing a bill that would allow Wisconsin doctors 
to prescribe medical marijuana. Congress needs to respect states' rights 
and show some leadership on medical marijuana, which roughly 70 percent of 
Americans support (Pew Research poll findings). Marijuana prohibition 
itself should be subjected to a thorough cost-benefit analysis. 
Unfortunately, a review of marijuana legislation would open up a Pandora's 
box most politicians would want to avoid.

America's marijuana laws are based on culture and xenophobia, not science. 
The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration 
during the early 1900s, despite vocal opposition from the American Medical 
Association. White Americans did not even begin to smoke marijuana until a 
soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness 

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been 
counterproductive at best. According to a Pew Research poll, 38 percent of 
Americans have now smoked pot.

The reefer madness myths have long been discredited, forcing the drug war 
gravy train to spend millions of tax dollars on politicized research, 
trying to find harm in a relatively harmless plant. Meanwhile, research 
that might demonstrate the medical efficacy of marijuana is consistently 

The direct experience of millions of Americans contradicts the 
sensationalistic myths used to justify marijuana prohibition. Illegal drug 
use is the only public health issue wherein key stakeholders are not only 
ignored, but actively persecuted and incarcerated. In terms of medical 
marijuana, those stakeholders happen to be cancer and AIDS patients.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation

Washington, D.C.
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