Pubdate: Sat, 11 Oct 2003
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 2003 The Capital Times
Author:  Jim Miller
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


I was the person that asked Howard Dean at his Madison rally if he
could justify jailing patients who use marijuana for medical purposes.
I was not a heckler, as your story characterized me.

What I actually said was "Multiple sclerosis patients in England will
have prescription marijuana (in the form of a sublingual spray) this
year that MS patients here would be arrested for having." When Mr.
Dean responded that his position on this issue "is a little
complicated" I added "my wife died in June after battling multiple
sclerosis for 32 years and marijuana was of great help to her." It was
then that he decided to talk about medical marijuana for a couple of

His comment that he would direct the Food and Drug Administration to
do a yearlong review of all studies and abide by their decision is a
sham. He is well aware that the Institute of Medicine of the National
Academies has already done a 1  1/2-year review -- at former drug czar
Barry McCaffrey's behest -- which concluded that marijuana is medicine
for a number of ailments, but smoking is not the best method of ingestion.

Dean's best comment was saying he was reluctant to promise action of
the issue "for the same reason I'm pro-choice: I don't like
politicians making medical decisions." I couldn't agree with him more.
It was the Congress that decided marijuana has no medical utility in
1970 when it passed the Controlled Dangerous Substances Act. Dr. Dean
is right. That politically motivated decision should not stand.

I was at the Dean rally to ask questions that dying Americans deserved
to have answered. If we are the greatest country in the world, why do
we have to look to England for the results of medical marijuana
testing that is not allowed to be done here? Why will MS patients in
England soon have less pain or spasticity than American MS patients?
Why did Cheryl, the light of my life, have to die in more pain that
was necessary? When will candidate Dean start talking to medical
marijuana patients instead of talking about them?

Jim Miller

Silverton, NJ
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