Pubdate: Mon, 28 Jul 2003
Source: Press and Journal, The (UK)
Copyright: 2003: Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd.
Author: Clifford Schaffer
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


SIR, - If Ian Oliver wants science to settle the cannabis controversy (the 
Press and Journal, July 23), then he should read some of it. On the 
medical-use issue, he ignores the obvious.  Cannabis is already a legal 
medicine in the US, where the government sends it to a number of patients 
each month because those patients went to court and proved to a legal 
certainty that cannabis was the only medicine suitable for their needs.

The plant obviously has medicinal properties because a prescription drug 
(Marinol) is made from the primary active ingredient. It might have other 
effects, but it obviously has medicinal effects.

There are some patients for whom the currently legal drugs do not work and 
there is no good pharmaceutical substitute for marijuana at present. Mr 
Oliver admits himself that it is a necessity for some people.

Granted, we want to develop better drugs, but people are sick now and they 
can't wait for years of research to find something better.

Studies of drug policy say that the marijuana laws were the product of 
racism and ignorance and should have been repealed long ago because they do 
more harm than good.

The medical-use issue is just one example of the harm done by the laws. If 
Mr Oliver knows of any study that reached a different conclusion, I would 
love to hear about it.

Clifford Schaffer, director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy, 
California, USA.

(Note: full address was in the paper so Mr Oliver can reply)
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