Pubdate: Thu, 12 May 2011
Source: Missoula Independent (MT)
Copyright: 2011 Missoula Independent
Author: Brooke H. Stanley


I am writing to express my frustration with Senate Bill 423. Medical
marijuana was legal, being prescribed by physicians to their patients
who in turn purchased it from entrepreneurial souls with a green
thumb. The cultivation of cannabis to achieve a pharmacological effect
is fairly tricky and involves segregating plants by gender and
restricting their pollination. My gardening skills and, I suspect,
many people's skills are not up to the task and probably never will

Cannabis is an effective analgesic and anti-emetic for many people and
its propensity for stimulating an appetite is well known. While its
concurrent use with mainstream psychotropic medication and
psychopathology needs to be approached with caution, the physiological
toxicity of THC is miniscule. By comparison, acetaminophen is the
number-one over-the-counter drug of overdose. It competes with
alcohol, a highly toxic psychotropic medication, for the same
excretion route. Cannabis is no worse than many other drugs of choice
and darn safer in many ways.

SB 423 is an attempt by legislators to give medical advice. Advice is
a dangerous gift; medical advice even more so. Speaking as a medical
professional, I have found successful medication management to have
several recurring features: listening, humility, and fact. SB 423
hamstrings the feasibility of medical marijuana for most people and
this shows a disregard for the voice of the body politic. Denying
mentally competent people an effective medicine--that grows on
trees--smacks of hubris.

Prohibition doesn't work. It didn't work in the Old Testament: God 
himself said don't eat that apple and that didn't work. The 
prohibition of alcohol by the 18th constitutional amendment didn't 
work as evidenced by the 21st amendment that voided it. It has been 
my experience that most people, the majority, in the home 
environment, don't take their medicines as directed. I wish it were 
otherwise, but if they have some semi-defensible reason for doing so 
and are not in immediate jeopardy then I respond with accurate 
information palatably presented. This helps some and does no harm. We 
can't live people's lives for them. I think that we as a people 
should be content if we can help some and do no harm. SB 423 is bad 
medicine and social injustice and we would be well served without it.

Brooke H. Stanley

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