Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jun 2005
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2005 Watertown Daily Times
Author: Lee Monnet
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


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 Permanente.

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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