Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jul 2003
Source: Frederick News Post (MD)
Copyright: 2003 Randall Family, LLC.
Author: Erin Hildebrandt


Having testified in support of Maryland's medical marijuana bill, I 
disagree with Tom Riley ("Marijuana fight to be continued," July 2) that 
resubmitting our legislation is a "Trojan horse" for legalizing drugs. My 
interest in this issue is personal.

Before turning to cannabis, I tried dozens of dangerous drugs, prescribed 
by my doctors, to ease the symptoms of Crohn's disease. Even if one of the 
more dangerous drugs had worked, why should I be arrested for choosing what 
DEA Law Judge Francis Young characterized as the "safest therapeutically 
active substance known to man"?

Only a willfully ignorant or cruelly deceptive leader could deny that 
marijuana is medicine, with mountains of hard science supporting it. In 
addition, where cannabis has been regulated, they're seeing decreases in 
substance abuse, overdoses and crime. Don't we deserve the same advantages?

I can agree with Mr. Riley in is his criticism of our bill "It puts the 
medical determination ... in the hands of a judge." This is why I'll be 
back in Annapolis to testify again next year. Medical decisions belong in 
patients' hands, not a judge's, and certainly far from the hands of Mr. Riley.

For too long, we've been operating under the assumption that our leaders 
would not mislead us about such an important issue. As Tony Walters said, 
"Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." Shame on Mr. 
Walters for fooling us. Now that we know better; it's time to act 
responsibly and stop arresting patients for taking their medicine.


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