Pubdate: Fri, 04 Jan 2002
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: Allied Press Limited, 2002
Author: Jason Baker-Sherman
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Mark Long (ODT, 11.12.01) mistakenly thinks that cannabis law reformers are 
using the medical marijuana issue to justify the recreational use of 
cannabis. Instead the medical marijuana "controversy" is but one thread in 
the tapestry of lies that has been spun in order to prohibit all cannabis use.

For instance, when the US Federal Government introduced the 1937 Marijuana 
Tax Act under the pretext of arresting an epidemic of recreational 
marijuana use that was said to threaten the nation, legitimate cannabis 
industries were reassured that they would not be hindered. Once this became 
law, however, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics wielded its new 'tax' power 
initially against hemp businesses, especially those experimenting with 
cellulose technologies or "chemurgy", followed in 1939 by the doctors that 
were still prescribing it as a medicine. Then, ironically, after decades of 
prohibition the recreational use of cannabis became widespread and its 
medicinal properties were rediscovered by the public. Medical marijuana 
users, often using cannabis as a last resort, were treated by the law with 
the same contempt and brutality that it used against recreational use. 
Attempts to legitimise medicinal cannabis use were thwarted by impossible 
bureaucratic requirements. The situation in New Zealand today is little 

Mr Long concludes, paradoxically, that no government should make cannabis 
more accessible to the public than it is already, which means that the 
black market determines "accessibility". I say that no government claiming 
to represent infinite justice and enduring freedom should misinform and 
arrest its citizens in order to deprive anyone of the benefits of a 
"medical miracle" (ODT, 7.11.01).

Jason Baker-Sherman, Dalmore
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