Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jun 2005
Source: Ogdensburg Journal/Advance News (NY)
Copyright: 2005 Johnson Newspaper Corp.
Author: Lee Monnet
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


To The Editor:

I would like to express my disappointment in Congressman John McHugh's
vote against The Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment to
the Science-State-Justice-Commerce Appropriations bill.  That
amendment sought to prevent the federal government from wasting
taxpayer money undermining state medical marijuana laws.

More than 20% of the U.S. population lives in a state where patients
have legal access to medical marijuana, including residents of Alaska,
California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada,
Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Yet, medical use of marijuana is the
only public health issue wherein the key stakeholders have not only
been ignored, but actively face prosecution and imprisonment. The
medical benefits of marijuana for cancer, AIDS, MS and other patients
are well established.  The Institute of Medicine has determined that
nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety "all can be mitigated by
marijuana." The esteemed medical journal, The Lancet Neurology,
reports that marijuana's active components "inhibit pain in virtually
every experimental pain paradigm.

Health organizations supporting legal access to medical marijuana
include the American Academy of HIV Medicine, American Academy of
Family Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Preventive
Medical Association, American Public Health Association, and Kaiser

National polls in recent years have found a majority support for
allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. In November 2004,
nearly three-fourths of Americans middle age and older support
legalizing marijuana for medical use, according to a poll taken for
AARP.  Over all, 72 percent of respondents agreed "adults should be
allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician
recommends it." A random sample of 732 registered voters nationwide
was interviewed by telephone June 8-11, 2005 by Mason-Dixon Polling &
Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. 68% of Americans say the federal
government should not prosecute medical marijuana patients.

Congressman McHugh represents a district that is renowned for people
who are tolerant and compassionate; his vote against The
Hinchey-Rohrabacker amendment would seem he has forsaken these virtues
for the politics and cynicisms of Washington.

Lee Monnet
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