Pubdate: Thu, 15 Jun 2006
Source: Pitch, The (Kansas City, MO)
Copyright: 2006 Village Voice Media
Author: Christopher Largen


As a leading advocate for the reform of policies governing medical
marijuana, I believe Eric Barton's "High Above the Law" (June 8) to be
one of the most skewed articles on the subject I've ever read.

And to refer to sick and dying patients as a "parade of oddballs" was
deeply offensive. It seemed to betray an inability to empathize with
the suffering of others.

Barton spoke of federal marijuana patient George McMahon's ability to
smoke marijuana and "get high" wherever he likes, conveniently failing
to mention that prior to being accepted to the government program,
McMahon had lived through 19 major surgeries, been declared clinically
dead five times, and was taking 17 different prescribed pharmaceutical
substances daily. For the last 16 years, McMahon has smoked 10
government-issued cannabis cigarettes daily. During this time, he has
had NO surgeries or hospitalizations, and he has no longer takes ANY

Perhaps Barton should take time to investigate the vast amounts of
international clinical and empirical research data supporting the
therapeutic value of cannabis. He spends more time focusing on the odd
appearances and mannerisms of people who support medical marijuana
than he does providing scientific information. But sick and dying
people aren't often too concerned about image. They are patients out
of time, fighting to find peace and justice in an absurd system that
criminalizes their relief.

Christopher Largen

Denton, Texas
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