Pubdate: Thu, 17 Aug 2006
Source: Union Sentinel (GA)
Copyright: 2006 Union Sentinel
Author: Chuck Esposito
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


To the Editor:

All three branches of the federal government ignore their Constitutionally 
mandated limits so frequently that when they step outside the bounds it's 
no longer news, and you have to search for coverage among the man-bites-dog 
stories to keep track of how individual rights and states rights continue 
to be infringed by the feds. Take, for example, the Supreme Court decision 
in Ashcroft v. Raich, which was recently announced. You probably didn't see 
it on the evening news, so allow me to report on it.

By way of background, ten states have adopted laws permitting doctors to 
prescribe medical marijuana for a variety of serious illnesses. For 
example, marijuana's ability to reduce intra-ocular pressure has saved many 
glaucoma patients from blindness; marijuana can control the painful muscle 
spasms associated with spinal cord injury suffered by some disabled 
veterans; marijuana can reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea suffered by 
cancer victims. Yet, regardless of its proven medical effectiveness (even 
the Supremes recognize the "valid therapeutic purposes" of marijuana!), the 
court decided, in Ashcroft v. Raich, that the federal Controlled Substances 
Act trumps state medical marijuana laws, authorizing federal drug agents to 
arrest patients using state sanctioned medical marijuana, even when those 
patients are operating within state guidelines. Thus, we have come to the 
point where taking a medication on the recommendation of a doctor, for a 
legitimate illness, as permitted by state law, is a federal crime. Where 
the Feds get the authority to meddle in such matters and to make such 
behavior a crime is beyond me, and more importantly, it is beyond the 
Constitution. But then, as I indicated at the beginning of this letter, I 
guess that's just not news any more.

Cordially, Chuck Esposito

Suches, Ga.
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