Pubdate: Mon, 28 Feb 2005
Source: Patriot Ledger, The  (MA)
Copyright: 2005 The Patriot Ledger
Author: Stephen Heath
Note: Headline by Newshawk


re: Marijuana Should Be Legal For Medical Use (Feb 15)

To the editor:

Letter writer Colleen O'Hanley is right on target with her plea that
we not be distracted by reefer madness hysteria when discussing
changes in our laws which will permit qualified medical patients to
use cannabis without fear of arrest.

When the topic of medical cannabis is raised, ardent drug war zealots
immediately turn the discussion to a focus on the many risks of
smoking it.  This not only ignores the state of medical cannabis in
the year 2005, which has most patients ingesting their medicine via
vaporizers, tinctures or in combination with food products; but it
also distracts from the more pertinent question.

That question is, "Should a medical patient who elects to use cannabis
with a doctor's recommendation be subject to arrest, criminal
prosecution and time in a prison cage?"

80% of Americans nationwide agree that the rational public policy
response should be, "No".  Only a handful of influential lawmakers and
public officials look at that same question and say, "Yes, otherwise
law-abiding medical patients who eschew our warnings about cannabis
should be jailed."

I endorse O'Hanley's call to more fully research both the risks of
using cannabis and also the potential medical efficacy.  But while
that research and study proceeds, it's time to stop wielding the power
of our criminal justice system on medical patients who prefer cannabis
to more heavy duty, addictive and often deadly narcotics approved by
the FDA.

Respectfully submitted,


Clearwater FL
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