Pubdate: Wed, 07 Apr 1999
Date: 04/07/1999
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Author: Dr. Michael T. Wayda
Note: The Marijuana Policy Project, mentioned below, has a website at:
Also: A Drug Policy Forum for Wisconsin residents has a web page and access
to a email list at:

Dear Editor:

On March 17 the prestigious National Academy of Sciences Institute of
Medicine' (IOM) released its long-awaited medicinal marijuana report.

IOM's report directly contradicts the claims of drug czar Barry
MeCaffrey, who has said that "there is not a shred of scientific
evidence that shows that smoking marijuana is useful or needed."

1. The report shows there is scientific evidence indicating that
marijuana has medical uses and that it is safe enough for most
patients who need it.

2. It recommends that people with AIDS, cancer and chronic pain, who
have an urgent need for marijuana, be provided legal protection while
further research is done on marijuana's medical uses.

3. It debunks the "gateway theory," saying that there is no evidence
that using marijuana will lead someone to use cocaine or any other

4. It also says that there is no evidence that allowing sick people to
use medicinal marijuana will cause an increase in recreational
marijuana use.

The report recognizes that even if pharmaceutical companies took an
interest in conducting further research studies on marijuana, it would
take many years and hundreds of millions of dollars to get it approved
by the FDA as a prescription medicine.

In the meantime, the report says that seriously ill patients should be
given legal access to marijuana so that they are no longer arrested?

I urge all readers to contact our members of Congress to ask that the
federal laws be changed. Also, for more information on this subject,
call the Marijuana Policy Project at (202) 462-5747.

Dr. Michael T. Wayda