Pubdate: Thu, 17 Feb 2005
Source: Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, IL)
Copyright: 2005 Southern Illinoisan
Author: Bruce Mirken
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Andrea Barthwell)


To the Editor:

Andrea Barthwell is not telling the truth when she calls medical
marijuana "snake oil" and claims that permitting medical use by
seriously ill patients would subvert the FDA's drug-approval process.
("Expert rails against medical marijuana," Feb. 10).

The Illinois Nurses Association's official policy, available at, states: "There is almost a half-century
of research that supports the safety and efficacy of cannabis
(marijuana) for conditions such as reducing nausea and vomiting,
stimulating appetite, controlling spasticity, decreasing the suffering
from the experience of chronic pain and controlling seizures."

As for the FDA, it regulates marketing and sales. It has no role in
regulating personal use. It is not illegal to treat yourself with
herbal medicines that aren't FDA approved as drugs. Ginseng, St.
John's Wort or goldenseal are not FDA approved medicines, but if you
choose to use them, no one will break down your door, slap you in
handcuffs and haul you off to jail.

But if your treatment is marijuana -- even if your doctor has
specifically recommended it for your condition -- they will. That
makes no sense.

Illinois can stop arresting medical marijuana patients without having
the slightest effect on the FDA. Barthwell should be embarrassed to
spread such misinformation.

Bruce Mirken,

Marijuana Policy Project,

Washington, D.C.
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