Pubdate: Wed, 24 Mar 1999
Source: Florida Times-Union (FL)
Copyright: The Florida Times-Union 1999
Author: Scott Bledsoe, board of directors, Coalition Advocating Medical


I read carefully the editorial titled ''Health Care: Science is
needed'' about the medical marijuana study released by the
Institute of Medicine.

As an activist in this area, I have become intimate with this issue
and the history involved. The editorial did little to become at least
familiar with the facts surrounding the medicinal use of marijuana.

There is some concern with the effect on the respiratory system when
marijuana is smoked. However, it was not mentioned that smoking is not
the only way to ingest marijuana.

Cannabis can be inhaled through a vaporizer, available today, that
heats the oils in the plant until they vaporize. They do not burn,
thus eliminating the side effects of smoking.

Cannabis can be administered through eating, in tinctures, in teas and
numerous other viable and effective manners.

It is correct that some who want to legalize marijuana for medical use
also want to make it available to all. But, we are not using it as a
ruse. Those who support full legalization naturally would like the
decriminalization of medical use to become reality.

For those patients, it is the most important aspect of the marijuana
issue. There are many patients who do not even like using marijuana,
but they do so because it helps. A ruse is an accusation just like the
gateway theory; it cannot be proved.

Finally, the author suggests that the best course of action is to do
more research to confirm that marijuana is better than any other drug
available. Why does marijuana need to be better than any other drug in
order to stop jailing people who feel that for them it helps?

There are many drugs that are available that are not the best drug for
certain ailments. Yet their consumers are not jailed and subjected to
the criminal justice system.

In fact, since God has already produced this wonderful herb with his
mighty hand, why is it even necessary to package, control, regulate,
tax and profit from something these patients can produce cheaply and
take as needed for their ailments in the way that best suits them?

Drug abuse is different from medical use. It is caused by a failing
society, not from a plant that was on Earth from the start that sick
people are using.

board of directors, 
Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana,
Orange Park

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