Pubdate: Thu, 28 Jan 2010
Source: Montgomery Advertiser (AL)
Copyright: 2010 The Advertiser Co.
Note: Letters from the newspaper's circulation area receive publishing priority
Author: Penny Vaughan


Medical marijuana is a popular issue. A recent ABC/Washington Post
poll shows that 81 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana
for medical use, and state medical marijuana initiatives have been
repeatedly endorsed by voters.

Studies have shown that marijuana relieves debilitating symptoms
including nausea, appetite loss and severe pain. I have been a chronic
pain patient since 2002, following a failed back surgery.

In my case the doctors prescribed fentynal and hydrocodone, both of
which are very addictive opiates that have serious adverse side
effects and may even cause death. Many otherwise illegal substances,
such as Oxycontin and morphine, can legally be prescribed by doctors.
The same should be true for marijuana, which is less dangerous and
addictive than any of these substances.

Medical marijuana would be a wonderful alternative for someone like
me. However, since it is not yet legal in my home state of Alabama, I
must become a criminal if I choose to use cannabis to alleviate my

I strongly believe the decision of what medicine is best for an
illness should be left up to the patient and the doctor, not to police
and prosecutors. Our state should use tax money to prosecute violent
crime, not punish medical marijuana users.

The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act is set to go before the
House of Representatives this session. This bill will protect
physicians who recommend medical marijuana (cannabis) for their
patients, and protect patients who use it.

Penny Vaughan

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