Source: Intelligencer Journal (PA)
Copyright: 1998 Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
Pubdate: 4 Dec 1998
Author: Bill Shadle


To the Editor:

Congress has no right to censor the results of a Washington, D.C., medical
marijuana referendum. Congress is acting like a third-world dictator:
canceling an election because the results may not be to its liking. This
isn't democracy - it's an arrogant abuse of federal power.

According to private exit polls, 69 percent of D.C. voters approved
Initiative 59, the proposal to allow doctors to legally recommend medical
marijuana to alleviate serious illnesses such as AIDS, glaucoma and cancer.
But no official results have been released because Congress prohibited the
city government from spending any money on the referendum.

It's hard to say what's worse: that Congress cares so little about
democracy that it would silence the results of a free and fair election, or
that Congress cares so little for human life that it would suppress a
referendum that makes life-saving medicine available to people with AIDS
and cancer.

Medical marijuana has been used to relieve the nausea and vomiting caused
by chemotherapy, to remedy AIDS-related weight-loss syndrome and to cure
chronic pain, depression, glaucoma and muscle spasms.

About two dozen professional medical groups - including the American
Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine and the American
Public Health Association - have come out in favor of public access to
marijuana upon a doctor's advice or recommendation.

Why is Congress afraid to let the people speak on this issue?

Bill Shadle

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Checked-by: Mike Gogulski