Pubdate: Thu, 8 Apr 1999
Source: Calgary Herald (Canada)
Authors: Pat Dolan, David D. Apollonia 


Re: "Medical study throws water on marijuana smoke," Calgary Herald, April 8.

This article on the Institute of Medicine study was informative but
somewhat one-sided. It failed to tell us that it was commissioned by
White House drug policy director Barry McCaffrey who is on record as
saying that "there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that
marijuana has any medical benefits." That it contradicted him at all
is surprising.

On this point, Harvard professor Lester Grinspoon, MD, comments: "The
average tobacco user consumes 19 cigarettes a day. The average
marijuana user consumes two to four joints per day. The exposure a
cannabis smoker receives is negligible." (Report for the American
Society for Cannabis Research, May 1988,p.4)

While we know that tobacco causes 400,000 deaths annually and alcohol
125,000, there have been "no reports of lung cancer due solely to
marijuana smoking." (Marijuana myths, marijuana facts, Zimmer and
Morgan, 1997, p.112)

Perhaps people who use drugs are immoral, maybe they are foolish, but
as long as it is legal to smoke or drink oneself to death, it makes
little sense to prosecute some of our seriously ill immoral fools and
not others.

Pat Dolan
Vancouver, B.C.

This article misses the main conclusion of the Institute of Medicine's report.

There is no justification to maintain the prohibition of cannabis. Period!

Many medicines available, far more "riskier" than the nefarious "smoke
menace", yet somehow marijuana must be banned because some folks
happen to "light up", to inhale its therapeutic smoke. This article
has one conclusion in mind. To continue the vilification, lies and
distortions of marijuana use as some kind of "bad" thing that society
must prohibit - maintaining the status quo.

For what rational reason, only the devil really knows.

David D. Apollonia 
Dartmouth, N.S.
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