Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jan 2004
Source: Racine Journal Times, The (WI)
Copyright: 2004, The Racine Journal Times
Author: Gary Storck
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Jeff Wilford's column, "Debatable: Should Democrats quit the bickering and
rally behind Dean?" (Dec. 30), raises some interesting points.

While virtually any Democrat except Joe Lieberman, who should be running in
the GOP primary, is a vast improvement over George Bush, the way Dean has
responded to questions about medical marijuana remains troubling.

Rather than make the decision to end the war on the sick and dying himself,
Dr. Dean proposes to have the same unelected FDA bureaucrats who have been
stonewalling research and blocking marijuana's rescheduling for medical use
for decades make that decision for him. And as Dean has said repeatedly, he
would abide by their determination, which he expects would find it useful
for AIDS and cancer sufferers, but for those with glaucoma, he expects the
FDA to find the risks outweigh the benefits.

The intimation here is that Dean expects glaucoma patients or people
suffering from other ailments that don't meet the FDA criteria would
continue to be criminalized, and that is just plain wrong. Fact is the
federal government has provided 300 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes each
month to a small number of patients in a program now closed to new
participants since 1992, including up to three glaucoma patients, one of
whom was the late Robert Randall, who sued the government to establish the
program in the late 1970's.

Unfortunately Dean continues to cling to this rigid and cruel policy, which
flies in the face of scientific evidence and patient testimonials, as well
as the over 80 percent of the American public who support legalizing medical
marijuana. Of all the Democratic contenders, only Dennis Kucinich has voiced
support for medical marijuana without reservation and indicated that as
president he would be willing to sign an executive order legalizing it.

Gary Storck

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