Pubdate: Wed, 13 Feb 2008
Source: Salina Journal, The (KS)
Copyright: 2008 The Salina Journal
Author: Tom Bell, Editor Publisher
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Few public figures are willing to stand up and advocate using
marijuana for medical reasons. Former Kansas Attorney General Bob
Stephan is one of those people.

His opinions on the subject deserve attention because as attorney
general he was the highest law enforcement official in the state. He
also 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.

On Monday, Stephan was back out front defending medical marijuana when
he spoke to the Senate Health Care Strategies Committee. He is
supporting a bill that would help people who use marijuana because of
medical problems. The bill would not legalize marijuana but would
provide a defense for those with a chronic or debilitating disease if
they have a written statement from a doctor that using marijuana could
help them.

It is obvious that Stephan's and others' testimony will not save this
bill. It is doomed because the committee is chaired by Susan Wagle, a
conservative who said, "This bill isn't on my agenda. In the last five
years, there have been so many more drugs available to cancer patients."

Wagle is correct in her assessment of new drugs. But all cancer
sufferers do not react to these drugs in the same way. If they can be
helped with medical marijuana then it should be available to them.

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.

Hysteria and politics continue to this day. That will change only when
more people like Stephan are willing to put their reputation on the
line to help others.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek