Pubdate: Sat, 31 Jul 1999
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 1999 St. Petersburg Times
Author: John Chase


Re: Stakes high in man's marijuana case, July 26.

Graham Brink's article quotes James McDonough, Florida's drug czar since
February, about the merits of marijuana as medicine. According to
McDonough, a lot more research needs to be completed to convince him that
marijuana has any significant medical benefits.

Why is it necessary that McDonough, who is in effect a law enforcement
officer, be convinced of the medical benefits of marijuana? Why not just
let the medical experts decide whether marijuana is indicated for these
patients who claim it helps them?

Since we cannot convert him overnight into a medical expert, we can at
least ask him to sit down and get to know some of these sick people who
have gotten relief from marijuana. He would learn how they and their
families -- most of them anyhow -- have become very angry. First, there is
disbelief that this illegal drug could actually help, then guilt and fear
of discovery, then finally anger when they hear similar stories from other
patients and realize that the government has been lying about marijuana. 

John Chase, Palm Harbor

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