Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) 
Author: Joshua M. Sinoway      
Pubdate: Wed, 27 May 1998
Editors note: Josh is the mailing list manager for the University Drug
Policy Forum. Details are at:


IN their continuing fight to maintain the criminalization of the use of
marijuana by sick and dying patients, opponents have called medical
marijuana a ``cruel and dangerous hoax'' and said it has no medical value.

If marijuana truly is ``Cheech and Chong medicine'' that has no value, why
are tens of thousands of patients risking their freedom to use it? And why
are federal bureaucrats, not medical professionals, even deciding this issue?

By prohibiting doctors from prescribing marijuana, the government has
forced patients to choose between two horrible possibilities: Suffer in
pain or risk arrest by breaking the law to get their medicine from the
black market.

The rationale for this clearly inhumane policy is that legalizing the
medical use of the drug would send ``confusing and contradictory messages
to the youth.'' The fact is that harsh, uncompassionate laws -- like those
that criminalize patients for using their medicine -- send the wrong
message to children. Dishonesty sends the wrong message to children.
Arguing that sick people should continue to suffer in order to protect
children sends the wrong message to children.

Children can and should be taught the difference between medicine and drug
abuse. There are no substances in the entire Physicians' Desk Reference
that children should use for fun. In fact, doctors can prescribe morphine
and methamphetamine; children are not taught that these drugs are good to
use recreationally just because they are used for medicines.

Medical marijuana is for sick people, not junior high school students. The
reliance on hysteria and misinformation to maintain the war on drugs should
not be used to deprive medical marijuana patients of an effective medicine.

Joshua M. Sinoway 
Santa Cruz, (CA) 
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Checked-by: Richard Lake