Pubdate: Mon, 20 Aug 2007
Source: Salina Journal, The (KS)
Copyright: 2007 The Salina Journal
Author: Tom Bell, Editor & Publisher
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Former Kansas Attorney General Bob Stephan is one of the most 
respected figures in Kansas law enforcement. People should listen 
when he says the state should legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

We also should pay attention because Stephan is a cancer survivor and 
suffered through seven years of chemotherapy. He has a special 
understanding of the pain and nausea brought on by treatments.

Marijuana has been found to alleviate these symptoms, yet archaic and 
politically charged laws keep it illegal.

Today's restrictions on marijuana began with a laughable series of 
events in the 1930s, when Harry J. Anslinger, who worked in the 
Bureau of Prohibition, led the political fight against marijuana 
using baseless arguments, false accusations and racism. 
Industrialists in paper and plastics, who feared competition from 
hemp production, helped support his efforts.

The hysteria and politics continue to this day. Few elected officials 
have the guts to push for policy reform at the federal level, where 
drug laws trump those passed by the state. Twelve states allow 
medical marijuana use, but feds can, and have, conducted raids in 
those states that yanked relief from cancer patients.

Washington's antiquated marijuana prohibition will change eventually, 
but first we need more brave souls like Stephan, who brings 
credibility to the fight. We also need to change harsh Kansas laws 
where judges can put someone in jail for misdemeanor marijuana 
possession. Growing just four marijuana plants can net a felony and 
from 11 to 17 years in prison. That applies even when plants are 
grown for medical relief.

Let's do a swap: Misinformation, hysteria and baseless fear that 
shape marijuana laws should be replaced with compassion, common sense 
and brave public figures, like Stephan, who will put their reputation 
on the line to help others.

Stephan is the state's longest running chief attorney. He is 
respected statewide. He is a cancer survivor. He is courageous in 
supporting medical marijuana. When he speaks, we all should listen.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake