Pubdate: Wed, 12 Sep 2007
Source: Pilot Independent, The (MN)
Copyright: 2007 The Pilot Independent
Author: Eric Sjolin


A complete and utter travesty of justice is currently  underway, 
which should cause all Americans to contact  their federal senators 
and representatives in Congress.

New Mexico is one of the latest of many states to  approve the 
medicinal use of marijuana, but despite  that (and perhaps because of 
it), federal agencies  recently announced they intend on pursuing 
legal  charges against a paraplegic man who went through his  state's 
legal guidelines to obtain the right to possess  medicinal marijuana, 
under the approval and supervision  of his medical doctor.

The case is purely political, as the D.E.A. and other  involved 
agencies intend on making an example of the  44-year-old man, 
stepping between him and his doctor in  order to make a statement and 
spread fear throughout  those suffering from similar debilitating 
medical conditions. Gov. Bill Richardson has vowed to fight 
to  protect the rights of his citizens, but faces an uphill  battle 
without some initiative within the Congress or  Senate to finally 
bring sensibility into our failing  "war on drugs."

Whether you hold any personal opinions one way or  another regarding 
the medicinal use of marijuana, most  Americans would agree the 
federal government should  have no right to prosecute those who 
simply possess a  medicine deemed legal within their own state, 
after  going through all the proper steps and obtaining a  doctor's 
prescription for that medicine.

Have we learned nothing from the Terry Shivo case with  regards to 
the over-reaching powers of the federal  government? Can anyone sit 
back and allow such  injustice to befall fellow citizens without 
speaking out, writing your representatives in government and  calling 
for some sensibility?

The classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug  depends on 
three criteria, of which it only really  qualifies under the first 
(but so could diet pills,  caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sleeping 
pills, energy pills, steroids, etc.). It does indeed possess 
the  potential for abuse, but no worse than those legal  substances 
mentioned. The other two criteria have been  proven wrong by 
countless medical studies and a growing  number of states which have 
approved marijuana for medicinal purposes.

If we ever intend on winning our "war on drugs," we  have to 
seriously look at the effects created by  lumping it in with such 
obviously harmful and addictive  poisons as cocaine, crystal meth, 
heroine and opium.  Our children are being taught to disregard the 
warnings regarding these poisons once they discover marijuana  isn't 
as bad as the government says it is. The  continual rise in drug use 
nation-wide should serve as  notice we are failing in our efforts to 
clean up our communities, and a new strategy should be implemented.

As the prohibition days exemplified with alcohol, the  only people 
benefiting from marijuana being illegal are  those criminals who 
profit from it. By decriminalizing,  controlling and taxing 
marijuana, our law enforcement  community would gain many more allies 
and resources  nationwide to curb the popularity and availability 
of  the truly damaging drugs which infect our society.

Just as many have pointed out our mistake in entering  our second war 
in Iraq, without first gaining popular  support of most nations, our 
continuing "war on drugs"  will be a failed policy without first 
establishing a  reasoned approach with popular appeal. Contact your 
leaders in government and plead to bring a new, winning  strategy to 
our "war on drugs." Let's concentrate  efforts on eliminating the 
true poisons, and not waste  untold resources attempting to step 
between a doctor  and their patient.

Eric Sjolin

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