Pubdate: Sat, 15 Nov 2003
Source: Ocean County Observer (NJ)
Copyright: 2003 Ocean County Observer
Author:  Gary Storck

Medical Marijuana


After reading Ocean County First Assistant Prosecutor Terrence P. Farley's 
comments about Cheryl Miller and the efficacy of medical marijuana, "A 
lonely vigil" (Oct. 19), it is clear that it is time for him to go. Not 
only is Farley completely unqualified to weigh in on the medicinal benefits 
of marijuana as he does in the article, but defaming the late Cheryl Miller 
shows a complete lack of simple human compassion and decency, not to 
mention integrity.

I was a friend of Cheryl Miller's, and I know marijuana eased her suffering 
and gave her back a little quality of life, despite being imprisoned in her 
own body for decades. To suggest that Cheryl Miller's medicine was "dope" 
is not only an insult to anyone who has ever faced serious illness, but 
also anyone who has cared for someone who was ill, as Jim Miller did so 
lovingly for Cheryl for so many years. Farley's choice of words is an 
intentional infliction of pain, and no apology can possibly repair the 
damage done by his cruel and ignorant statements.

I attended Cheryl's memorial in Washington D.C., and while there, 
accompanied more than a dozen multiple sclerosis patients from all over the 
country, in various stages of MS, to the D.C. chapter of the MS Society for 
a meeting in which they all spoke of how marijuana was an essential 
medicine for them, easing symptoms, even halting progression of the 
disease, and, more dramatically, reversing paralysis from the neck down for 
one patient.

But it is not just the personal stories of these and other multiple 
sclerosis patients that prove marijuana is medicine. Farley seems oblivious 
to reams of scientific data that leave no doubt, including recent results 
of clinical trials by GW Pharmaceuticals, which found that a sublingual 
spray made from whole cannabis is extremely effective in treating multiple 
sclerosis symptoms, chronic pain and other medical conditions.

The spray is expected to be available to patients in Britain by the end of 
the year, and not long after for patients in the European Union, Canada and 
Australia. Thanks to prohibitionists like Farley, it will not be available 
to U.S. patients any time soon.

Like Jim Miller, I, too, am sorry that New Jersey did not take action so 
Cheryl Miller could have had safe and legal access to medical marijuana 
while she was alive. There was plenty of time to do the right thing, and 
the Millers made no secret of her plight.

But when public officials like Farley can't tell the difference between 
medical use and drug abuse, the result is years of suffering, a premature 
death, and a widower coping with the loss of the light of his life.

Still, after seeing and hearing other multiple sclerosis patients tell how 
marijuana has helped them, it is clear it need not be too late for the 
"other Cheryl Millers" out there.

The first step would be to replace Farley with someone with a heart.

Gary Storck

Madison, Wis.
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