Pubdate: Mon, 28 Jan 2002
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)
Copyright: 2002 The Santa Fe New Mexican
Author: Katharine A. Huffman


I disagree with Steve Terrell and Jonathan McDonald's prediction that New
Mexico's bill to allow AIDS and cancer patients access to medical marijuana
won't pass (column, Jan. 13).

The recent Supreme Court case that they mention, U.S. vs. Oakland Cannabis
Buyer's Cooperative, did not harm state medical-marijuana programs.

The case only dealt with federal law - not state law - and addressed a
particular type of distribution system in California, one which is not part
of the proposed law in New Mexico.

The medical marijuana laws already enacted in nine states have not been
affected by the decision and continue to operate smoothly. In fact, Nevada
has successfully implemented its medical-marijuana program since the case
was decided. Since most marijuana arrests are made at the local level,
state medical marijuana laws provide patients and their loved ones with
enormous legal protection.

Making medical marijuana available to relieve the pain and suffering of
sick and dying patients is supported by 78 percent of New Mexicans and
passed both chambers of the Legislature last year. Now is the time for it
to become law in New Mexico; it's the right thing to do.

Katharine A. Huffman

Director, New Mexico Drug Policy Project

The Lindesmith Center, Drug Policy Foundation

Santa Fe via e-mail
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