Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jan 1997
Source: Rocky Mountain News (CO)
Author: Gregory Daurer

Although I applaud the sentiment that our war on drugs has hindered the
ability of physicians to provide adequate pain relief, the News' Dec. 29
editorial "States' rights and pot" proves, overall, to be as muddled as the
federal government's own policy regarding medical marijuana.

The editorial asserts that pot-prescription laws in Arizona and California
are misguided, that there are better drugs than cannabis available for life-
and sense-threatening illnesses. On the contrary, marijuana is sometimes the
*best* medicine -- that's why six individuals legally receive marijuana from
the federal goverment to smoke for glaucoma and other diseases. (Yes, *only*
six.) The wake-up call from Arizona and California is that states are
justifiably choosing to expand this prescription policy, which the federal
government, in its duplicity, is trying to scuttle.

The editorial also implies that there is a contradiction in allowing medical
marijuana to be dispensed, since society also implores youth to refrain from
trying it. I'd remind you that cocaine and morphine are prescription drugs,
and we rightly ask children to avoid those substances on the street. We
don't, however, banish them from the pharmacopoeia or relegate the use of
such compounds to only six people.

I'd be more comfortable allowing doctors to decide whether medicinal
marijuana works than editors at the News or the nation's drug czars.

Gregory Daurer