Pubdate: Mon, 01 Dec 1997
Source: Olympian
Author: David L. Edwards M.D.

The issue of medicinal marijuana will not disappear simply
because I-685 was too broad in scope (by including all Schedule 1
drugs) and was defeated. Patients will still have to choose
between needless suffering and breaking absurd laws to obtain relief.
During the debates on I-685, government and law enforcement
figures, and even doctors admitted that, if the issue were
narrowed to medicinal marijuana alone, they could have supported
the measure.

When over 1/2 million voters (41%) can endorse a flawed and
overreaching initiative, it indicates a need to continue the
dialog to see if the Legislature can craft a more acceptable
measure to achieve the narrow goal of making a safe, effective
and inexpensive medicine available to suffering patients, and
also assuring the means of its proper distribution.

Last year the State Legislature approved appropriations to study
methods of distribution of medicinal marijuana. Unfortunately the
researchers at Washington State University ignored the mandate
and did not address the issue as directed. Perhaps having the
State take over operation of outlets like Green Cross, which to
date have been the safest and most reliable sources of medicinal
marijuana might be a good starting point.

Concerns about dosage, safety under medical supervision, driving by
patients, and diversion of drugs to recreational uses would all
fall under the same controls that currently govern the use of
physician-prescribed Schedule 2 drugs.

In any event, the issue should be faced by the Legislature in
order to afford relief from suffering without making seriously
ill patients break the law to obtain such relief.

David L. Edwards, M.D.
Olympia, Washington