Pubdate: Fri, 23 Mar 2007
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Page: A9
Copyright: 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Bruce Mirken


Law professor Randy Barnett understandably focuses on the arcane legal
and constitutional issues raised by the recent Ninth Circuit ruling
that Angel Raich's Fifth Amendment right to life does not prevent the
federal government from arresting and jailing her for using medical
marijuana to stay alive. But legal minutiae should not obscure the
larger issue: Federal law is out of step with science and simple
common sense. Marijuana has been used as a medicine, safely and
effectively, for 5,000 years. In 1988, the Drug Enforcement
Administration's own administrative law judge called marijuana "one of
the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." Since
then, a wide variety of experts -- including the Institute of
Medicine, the American Public Health Association, and many others --
have weighed in with similar evaluations, and new data arrive almost
weekly. Just last month, University of California researchers reported
that marijuana effectively relieves a type of nerve pain that afflicts
thousands with HIV/AIDS, for which there are no FDA-approved treatments.

Bruce Mirken

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

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