Pubdate: Sun, 27 May 2001
Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette (WI)
Address: P.O. Box 19430, Green Bay WI 54307-9430
Contact:  2001 Green Bay Press-Gazette
Fax: (920) 431-8379
Author: Gary Storck


MADISON -- Regarding your article, "Woman says she euthanized cancer 
sufferer," May 16, the recent Supreme Court ruling against medical 
marijuana could trigger more suicides and assisted suicides by patients and 
caregivers if conventional treatments cannot ease their suffering.

Marijuana has been shown to ease pain and combat the side effects of 
chemotherapy. Forcing terminally ill patients to break the law to regain a 
little quality of life is not just cruel but immoral.

With the Supreme Court ruling that federal law prohibits the medical use of 
marijuana, even for those with a medical necessity for this therapy, the 
only option is for lawmakers to change the law.

Legislation was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives earlier 
this year that would allow individual states to set their own policies on 
medical marijuana and reschedule it so physicians could prescribe it. HR 
1344, the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, currently has 11 
co-sponsors including Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

Hopefully, the Supreme Court's ruling will trigger a groundswell of public 
support for changing the law so patients and caregivers do not have to risk 
arrest and jail to ease their suffering. Interested parties should contact 
their congressional representatives and ask them to co-sponsor this bill.

Legislation is also being mulled at the state level, and again those 
wishing to end the cruel status quo that criminalizes the sick and dying 
should also contact their Assembly and Senate representatives and ask that 
they support a state medical marijuana law.

Gary Storck
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