Pubdate: Tue, 06 Apr 2004
Source: Las Vegas Sun (NV)
Copyright: 2004 Las Vegas Sun, Inc
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


This is in response to your March 27 editorial headlined, "A medical 'Catch
22.' " Lost in the debate over medical marijuana is the ugly truth behind
marijuana prohibition.

America's marijuana laws are based on culture and xenophobia, not science.
The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration
during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical

White Americans did not even begin to smoke marijuana until a soon-to-be
entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda.
Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been
counterproductive at best.

According to a 2002 Time/CNN poll, 47 percent of Americans have now smoked
pot. Illegal drug use is the only public health issue wherein key
stakeholders are not only ignored, but actively persecuted and incarcerated.
In terms of medical marijuana, those stakeholders happen to be cancer and
AIDS patients.

Patients in states with compassionate-use laws may be protected, but medical
marijuana providers aren't. By raiding voter-approved medical providers, the
very same U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that claims illicit drug use
funds terrorism is forcing sick patients into the hands of street dealers.

Apparently federal marijuana prohibition is more important than protecting
the country from terrorism.

ROBERT SHARPE Washington, D.C.

Editor's note: Robert Sharpe is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug
Policy, a national nonprofit group working to reform federal drug laws. 
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