Pubdate: Mon, 25 Feb 2002
Source: Fayetteville Observer-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2002 Fayetteville Observer-Times
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Kudos to the Observer for giving the Drug Enforcement Administration a 
much-deserved demerit for raiding a California medical marijuana club on a 
day when Americans were asked to be on the lookout for terrorist threats. 
The patients who relied on the voter-approved club to help combat nausea 
and stimulate appetite are now forced to buy marijuana on the street. 
Forcing sick and dying patients into the hands of organized crime is a 
decidedly odd way of fighting crime. A cost-benefit analysis of marijuana 
prohibition is long overdue. Unfortunately, a review of marijuana 
legislation would open up a Pandora's box most politicians would just as 
soon 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. White Americans did not even begin to smoke 
marijuana until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began 
funding reefer madness propaganda. 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. 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
Program officer, The Lindesmith Center Drug Policy Foundation
Washington, D.C.
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