Pubdate: Sun, 01 Apr 2007
Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)
Copyright: 2007 The Press Democrat
Author: Susan Swartz, The Press Democrat


You have to wonder what those judges themselves were smoking. I refer 
to the federal court of appeals that ruled a sick mother of two from 
Oakland cannot use medical marijuana.

Even though what she's doing is legal under California law and even 
though her doctors say smoking marijuana is the only thing that 
motivates her to eat and deal with the pain from scoliosis, a brain 
tumor and endometriosis, the court says Angel Raich is a criminal in 
the eyes of the federal government.

The government stands firm that marijuana is an illegal controlled 
substance with no medical value. The federal government doesn't buy 
the argument that gravely ill people have the right to use marijuana 
when legal drugs have failed.

The government says there's no scientific proof that ingesting or 
inhaling marijuana makes a difference to sick people. This is, of 
course, the same government that picks and chooses the scientific 
arguments it likes - global warming being highly exaggerated and stem 
cell research a plot to kill babies.

This federal government would tell sick people to just pray and take 
a pill. This government believes if teenagers and other suggestible 
Americans ever saw Raich using marijuana, they, too, might want to 
acquire scoliosis, a brain tumor and endometriosis so they could get 
high and eat brownies.

Meanwhile, the tobacco industry has been out looking for young women to sicken.

There's no lack of scientific proof that smoking tobacco can lead to 
lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema and other miseries. But 
it's still legal to grow and sell the stuff, even though finding a 
legal place to puff is becoming harder all the time.

Because the tobacco industry is being squeezed - not unlike someone 
with scoliosis, emphysema and a brain tumor must feel every day of 
her life - the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. has come up with a new 
cigarette for women called Camel No. 9.

Clever marketing makes Camel No. 9 sound more like a fashion 
accessory than a cancer stick. The name suggests a connection to 
perfume - Chanel No. 19 - or that kicky song "Love Potion No. 9." The 
cigarettes come in a sexy package of basic black with fuchsia touches 
- - a chic combo that begs for champagne bubbles. And the taste is 
touted as "light and luscious," not unlike a diet dessert.

Advertised in fashion magazines, Camel No. 9 is being promoted at 
"Girls Night Out" events at nightclubs. Lest anyone accuse them of 
going after teenagers, the Camel people insist no one under 21 is 
allowed in their parties where the "girls" get goody bags, massages, 
drinks, hairstyles and free smokes, of course. Think of it as a 
cough-'til-you-drop night.

The tobacco industry has been hit hard by a drop in female smokers in 
recent years. Maybe women finally got the message that lung cancer 
kills more women than breast cancer. Or maybe they realized that 
those little smoking lines you get around your mouth never disappear.

So of course there's a desperate push to win the girls back. In a 
business story on the new cigarette, Wall Street analysts praised 
R.J. Reynolds for its successful marketing strategy.

Now a British study has come out with a list of the most dangerous 
substances. Heroin is first. Tobacco is ninth. Marijuana is 11th.

I wonder how many sick people who are dying because they or someone 
close to them smoked tobacco now use marijuana to lessen their pain. 
They, if no one else, see the absurdity of a society where pushing a 
drug that kills is business but using a drug that helps you live is a crime.
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