Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN)
Copyright: 1999 Star Tribune
Author: Paul M. Bischke, St. Paul.


A bill that would have protected doctors and patients employing
marijuana   as a medicine died Wednesday night at the hands of Public
Safety   Commissioner Charlie Weaver. Columnist Doug Grow rightly
pointed out   March 17 that Gov. Jesse Ventura was the real killer of
Sen. Pat Piper's   bill, despite his pro-medical-marijuana campaign
stance and despite this   month's Mason-Dixon Research poll that finds
65 percent of Minnesotans in   favor of medical use and only 20
percent opposed (15 percent ride the   fence). Indulging in the
bait-and-switch politics-as-usual he forswore   only weeks ago,
Ventura sided with Weaver, who has applied his own   campaign slogan
of "tough, not nice" against debilitated patients.

Why the opposition? Weaver called the tiny medical use exception in
Sen.   Piper's bill "a law enforcement nightmare." Presumably he
doesn't fear   pot-crazed cripples attacking cops in the streets or
cancer patients   lurching from their beds to commit unspeakable acts
of reefer madness.   Real meaning: Drug cops don't like having to ask
any questions before   kicking down the door for their beloved raids,
like that upon   wheelchair-ridden Darryl Paulson.

Weaver complained that: (1) marijuana is sometimes more potent today,
and   (2) that smoke is an irritant.

These arguments cancel each other out.   High potency delivers the
medicine with minuscule smoke exposure.

Weaver also said Ventura would not support a state law that leaves  
medical marijuana users in violation of federal law. That's double
talk   to cover Ventura's political cowardice.

As the Institute of Medicine   report confirms, marijuana is a safe
and effective medicine, albeit with   minor respiratory risks.

Patients need protection, not from marijuana,   but from coercive
big-government. Ventura, who once decried overbearing   government,
now presides over the state enforcers who remain authorized to kick
down   patients' doors, put guns to their heads, throw them in prison
and   confiscate their earthly possessions. Ventura's odd reasoning:
To protect   patients from federal prosecution they must remain
subject to state   prosecution. That's a big help, Jesse.

- -- Paul M. Bischke, St. Paul.

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MAP posted-by: Rich O'Grady