Pubdate: Thursday, 1 April 1999
Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ)
Author: David Smith


In light of the Institute of Medicine report on medicinal use of
marijuana, perhaps drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey should apologize, if
not resign his position (``Panel adds to push for medicinal use of
pot'' - March 18).

His arguments against state initiatives are now shown to have been bad
judgment at best; at worst, they were malfeasance. He has repeatedly
asserted ``not a shred of scientific evidence'' exists to support
medical marijuana. He called the idea a ``cruel hoax,'' and he
suggested the voters were duped.

He maintained marijuana is dangerous and addictive, its use leads to
``harder'' substances and it weakens the immune system. He contended
that allowing medical use would increase illicit drug use. He called
for a marijuana policy based on science, not ballot

The study he commissioned and considered ``the most comprehensive
analysis of medical marijuana ever done,'' either refuted outright, or
found no basis for, each of his arguments. About the only negative
conclusion was inhaling smoke may pose a risk of respiratory disease.

Apparently it is McCaffrey who bases his opinions on political bias
rather than rationality. One wonders if the rest of his ``drug
strategy'' is similarly clouded by prejudice and misinformation.

David Smith

- ---
MAP posted-by: Rich O'Grady