Pubdate: Wed, 13 Mar 2013
Source: Taunton Daily Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2013 Taunton Daily Gazette
Author: Steven S. Epstein
Note: Attorney Steven S. Epstein of Georgetown is a founder of the 
Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition and has written many letters 
and columns lauding liberty and cannabis.


I am an attorney, not a doctor, but Dr. Aghababian's guest opinion, " 
Doctors have legitimate concerns about medical marijuana" (March 6) 
set me to wondering how many members of the Massachusetts Medical 
Society share his concerns? Surely, some members curious about the 
subject searched the net and found the sites of the International 
Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM) and the Society of 
Cannabis Clinicians (SCC). The IACM is dedicated to advancing 
knowledge on cannabis, cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and 
related topics especially with regard to their therapeutic potential.

It publishes "Cannabinoids," a peer-reviewed online journal and the 
Bulletin, a free bi-weekly e-mail newsletter covering news topics on 
all aspects of cannabis as medicine.

The SCC, formed as a project of the California Cannabis Research 
Medical Group in 2004, promulgated voluntary standards for clinicians 
engaged in the recommendation of cannabis under California law. It 
publishes "O' Shaunnessey's, The Journal of Cannabis in Clinical 
Practice," named to honor William Brooke O'Shaughnessy, MD, who in 
the 1840s introduced European physicians to hemp's medicinal qualities.

The doctors who find these sites learn that smoking is only one means 
of administration and that whatever the means of administration it is 
the safest therapeutically active substance known.

They would come across an unchallenged epidemiological study by Dr. 
Tashkin and his associates at UCLA establishing that the risk for 
lung cancer or other upper aerodigestive tract cancers in marijuana 
smokers, even heavy smokers, is slightly lower in cannabis users than 

Curious and informed physicians would learn the DEA is can not revoke 
their licenses to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs or conduct an 
investigation that might lead to such revocation, where the basis for 
the government's action is solely the physician's professional 
"recommendation" of the use of medical marijuana." The Supreme Court 
settled this question in 2003 when it refused to hear the 
government's appeal of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Conant v. 
Walters that the First Amendment protects doctors from such DEA 
actions. Most disconcerting to me is Dr. Aghababian's assumption that 
prohibition is, at least until the FDA approves of the use of this 
herb, a legitimate exercise of the constitutionally limited power of 
Congress and that the voters were fools to approve the medical 
exception to the state's legitimate prohibition.

Current decisional precedent concludes that it is, but like "separate 
but equal" the precedents are benighted.

These decisions by fallible judges defer too much to fallible 
legislatures and the political process.

They ignore how fiscally irresponsible it is to expend scarce 
resources on enforcing a failed prohibition that lacks the consent of 
a large segment of citizens who consume it despite the prohibition.

The courts do not consider how unwise it is to provide a price 
support to those supplying the demand for marijuana.

Nor do they consider how unreasonable it is to dismiss a plant valued 
from the dawn of agriculture for its abundant production of 
nutritious seeds and strong fiber as well as for its medicinal and 
entheogenic ("generating the divine within") qualities.

They ignore the fact that prohibition is the product not of reason 
but of the efforts of crony-capitalists to protect their profits from 
the competition posed by the tens of thousands of products, not just 
marijuana, that scientists discovered in the first third of the 20th 
century could be economically utilized in competition with fossil 
carbons and trees. If we are committed to justice and liberty for 
all, Congress must repeal the prohibition that never should have been 
by passing H.R. 499 the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 
2013 and leave "policing" the plant to the states where it belongs.

This bill is mentioned in "Local lawmakers say federal pot 
legalization unlikely in near future" (March 3). Whether or not 
Congress acts, the states do not have to wait to repeal their 
prohibitions retaining only criminal sanctions for selling or gifting 
of marijuana to children without a physician's recommendation and for 
operating a motor vehicle while impaired.

By default, all the plant's products would then be treated like any 
other agricultural commodity.

Weighed on scales certified accurate by the Sealer of Weights and 
Measures; subject to the warranty of merchantability; the activities 
of that commerce required to take place in a manner in accordance 
with other generally applicable law and the profits of those engaged 
in cannabis commerce subject to income taxation.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom