Pubdate: Wed, 30 May 2001
Source: Riverfront Times (MO)
Copyright: 2001 New Times, Inc.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


"It would send the wrong message to the children" is one of the standard 
responses to arguments in support of medical marijuana. By keeping 
marijuana a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the federal government sends 
the wrong message to my 14-year-old daughter ["The Media Go to Pot," RFT, 
May 16].

Our daughter's Sunday-school teacher, a close family friend, contracted HIV 
through a blood transfusion in 1982. More than a decade later, AIDS caught 
up with her. The side effects of the medications she took forced her to 
stop teaching. She couldn't eat and was being fed through a tube. She 
wasted away and looked like a skeleton. After visiting her, my daughter had 

In January 1997, California's Compassionate Use Act, Proposition 215, went 
into effect, and we encouraged our friend to try cannabis. As a 
Sunday-school teacher, she thought it would send the wrong message to her 
students. We finally convinced her to try it in private. Within weeks, she 
was eating voraciously. She was out and about, enjoying herself. She 
returned to the classroom.

Our young daughter saw the transformation. This unique medicine gave our 
friend two more years of life. In May 1999, our friend died from a ruptured 
pancreas, a result of the highly toxic AIDS medications she took.

My daughter understands that Congress has made marijuana possession a 
federal crime. I asked her whether the mixed messages confused her and how 
she could reconcile the government's stance with her experience. "I'm not 
confused," she said. "They're just stupid."

I want the next generation to be able to look up to our government and 
elected leaders. My daughter sees through the government's stubborn refusal 
to admit to marijuana's obvious medical benefit and the disinformation 
campaign used to support that inhumane position. And that sends the wrong 
message to my kid.

Jane Marcus

Palo Alto, Calif.
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