Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jun 2003
Source: Bradenton Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2003 Bradenton Herald
Author: Catherine E. Jordan


On April 3, the Drug Enforcement Administration formally accepted an 
administrative petition seeking federal recognition of the accepted medical 
use of cannabis in the United States, activating a federal review of 
marijuana's status under federal law that could eventually result in its 
medical availability. The petition by the Coalition for Rescheduling 
Cannabis was filed in October 2002 and seeks establishment of a legal 
production and distribution system for medical cannabis in the United 
States under existing provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Marijuana is regulated but unavailable for medical use in the United States 
because it is a Schedule I substance, as is heroin. The federal government 
insists that cannabis has a high potential for abuse, is unsafe for use 
under medical supervision and has no accepted medical use in the United 
States. The coalition argues that all three of the government's claims are 
incorrect and that each is contradicted by scientific research and medical 

I believe it's amazing how the DEA has the power to keep medicine from me 
that keeps me alive. I have four neurologists who believe this is the best 
medicine for me.

I have ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease, I was diagnosed in 1986 and was given 
three to five years to live. I feel God led me to Florida and I had the 
good fortune to run into some Myakka Gold. I smoked this back in 1989 and 
my disease stopped. Now it takes years, not months, for my disease to 
progress. I have educated some neurologists on this, but I cannot remove 
their fear of the government. They could lose their license by just 
agreeing with me. Until you're in this situation where you're dying, you 
have no idea how frustrating it is for me and others. To have to break the 
law every day just to live. Cannabis is a medical issue, not a political one.

Catherine E. Jordan is President of Manatee Cannabis Action Network
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