Pubdate: Mon, 19 Dec 2005
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Author: Marc Snelling


I'm a San Diego medical marijuana patient and a customer of one of the
dispensaries recently raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration. I
will continue to use marijuana as medicine because it is more
effective, more natural and has fewer side effects than the
pharmaceutical alternatives. The conditions that I treat with this
medicine should be between me and my physicians. By seizing patient
records, the DEA has violated my privacy and that of many others.

Not that it is anyone's business, but I use marijuana as an
alternative to Vicodin to treat chronic pain from a serious car
accident and as an alternative to lithium to treat bipolar disorder.

DEA agent Jack Hook claims that these dispensaries "pose a serious
risk to public safety." If that were true, why didn't local
authorities ask the owners to change their policies or close? Police
have visited the dispensaries, investigated the operators and kept
records since they opened. Breaking down doors, handcuffing patients
in wheelchairs and pointing automatic weapons at people's heads has
not made the public safer.

For the DEA, "the bottom line is the prices that these people are
charging is three to four times higher than you buy from a seedy drug
dealer in a back alley." The DEA may prefer that I buy marijuana in a
back alley, but I choose the dispensaries because of the quality and
reliability of their product.

These businesses exist because there is a need to be served, a need
that no amount of DEA thievery and intimidation will erase. The prices
are only marginally higher than they are in a "back alley" and are low
considering the additional expenses of retail space, business
licensing and legal costs. Whatever the price, the consumers can
decide for themselves what is fair. That is the American way.


San Diego