On The Town: Care To Share With The Rest of Us?

On The Town: Care To Share With The Rest of Us?
Posted by CN Staff on June 04, 2005 at 07:19:24 PT
By Steve Smith
Source: Daily Pilot
California -- The end of this and all future columns will no longer include my e-mail address. That contact information was placed there to encourage readers to send me leads on stories that I otherwise would have missed.But over the past few weeks, it has become a way for readers to comment on something I've written without having to share their thoughts with the rest of us. Most of those thoughts -- in fact, nearly all of them -- are really good, even the ones from those who disagree with me.
One example was an e-mail I received blasting me for recommending that the city of Costa Mesa continue to allow the use of fireworks. The writer did not call me any names, but used some reasonable judgment to make her case.But it was the reaction to the medical marijuana column that forced the decision to drop the e-mail address.In addition to the three letters that were published Friday in the Daily Pilot, I received three e-mails. Each of them was a gem and not, coincidentally, because they agreed with my position. One of them provided important additional information that I will share with you today.One question raised here Wednesday was why medical marijuana had to be given through a dispensary instead of through a drug store as is the case with other -- and many more harmful -- drugs.That riddle was solved by one e-mailer who wrote: "The prescribing and dispensing of drugs is controlled under federal law. A Schedule I drug such as marijuana cannot be dispensed by prescription nor sold through federally monitored channels. This is why it must be 'recommended' by a physician rather than prescribed. Until the federal government stops politicizing the suffering of thousands of sick people, the California system of home growing and dispensaries is the only route that will avoid the arrest and prosecution of doctors and pharmacists."So there you have it. Now, I am certain that you are wondering just what a Schedule I drug is. Just so happens that a Schedule I drug is the most strictly controlled by the government. Medical marijuana happens to be in the elite class with ecstasy, heroin, LSD and raw opium.That classification is the result of some ancient beliefs about the drug.And make no mistake about it, medical marijuana is a drug. Which is why many us of who propose its use for those in need do not also support the legalization of its cousin, pot. Two distinct drugs, two distinct reasons for their use.All of the arguments I made last Wednesday seemed to me to be reasonable, and they seemed to be reasonable to the five people who responded either directly to me or to the Pilot.But Mike Clifford of Costa Mesa took the unfortunate step of making his objections personal. Instead of arguing against the facts I presented, Clifford wondered "if Steve Smith has partaken too much marijuana himself to have the opinion he does."That's nice. Perhaps Clifford would say the same of former Secretary of State George Schultz, conservative columnist William F. Buckley and a host of other conservatives who have questioned the nation's marijuana laws.But the local discussion is not about all marijuana laws, it is about a local medical marijuana dispensary. It is not about legalizing another drug, as Clifford thinks, but of providing a legal source for a medication that has already been approved by the voters of this state.This is an important point. California's voters have already approved the distribution of medical marijuana under controlled circumstances. In fact, every state that has had a medical marijuana question on its ballot has approved it. According to multiple polls, about 80% of Americans support the controlled distribution of medical marijuana.Then there are the narrow-minded points of view of the 20% of Americans, people like Clifford, who want to deny a proven remedy for cancer chemotherapy simply because they don't want another drug around, even one that works.And medical marijuana does work. It is, in fact, probably the most tested drug in history if you consider that more than 100 million Americans have been estimated to have tried it. Unlike, say, Viagra, which has been promoted for the very important task of improving male erection but is now under suspicion for a serious ocular side effect. Or Vioxx, which was tested and approved, then pulled from the market for its serious side effects.No, I was not high when I wrote that column, nor was Buckley high when he wrote any of his series of columns supporting medical marijuana. In one column, Buckley told the story of his friend Peter McWilliams, who was forbidden to smoke medical marijuana to relieve his pain from his chemotherapy and ordered instead to take Marinol, a synthetic substitute. McWilliams reported that the Marinol worked only one-third of the time. When it didn't, he vomited. One day, he vomited while in his bathtub, choked and died. All because one judge would not let him use a proven remedy to ease his pain.You don't have to be high or a flaming liberal to see the absurdity of this debate. Both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach need to forget the stigma of the '60s and make medical marijuana available to those who have a need for it. It is quite simply the right thing to do.* Steve Smith is a Costa Mesa resident and a freelance writer. Source: Daily Pilot (CA)Author: Steve SmithPublished: June 4, 2005Copyright: 2005 Daily PilotContact: dailypilot latimes.comWebsite: Article & Web Site:Peter McWilliams Memorial Page is Not a Hard Pill To Swallow Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on June 04, 2005 at 17:59:46 PT
"dem head can't tek it"
Great Oped: Conflict by Professor Frederick Hickling, Chairman of the National Council on Drug Abuse
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on June 04, 2005 at 17:49:25 PT
Judge says
"War On Drugs Not Meant To Be Won"
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Comment #7 posted by runderwo on June 04, 2005 at 11:33:37 PT
readers letters
cam be found here.
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Comment #6 posted by Dankhank on June 04, 2005 at 09:30:59 PT
Yes, we need all the good wishes that we can get ...Thanks, FoM, And to all who are from, or know someone from Oklahoma, let's start burning the phone lines, emails whatever ...Peace to all who educate ...
Truth in Oklahoma and everywhere
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on June 04, 2005 at 09:17:16 PT
I wish you and your state the best luck! 
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Comment #4 posted by Dankhank on June 04, 2005 at 08:52:13 PT
OK interim MM study
Oklahoma Legislators have agreed to do an interim study on Medical Marijuana. Please contact your legislators this week to let them know you agree with studying the issue and ask if your legislator would like to be on the committee.Calls to Speaker Todd Hiett   405-557-7353 and Senate Pro-Tem Mike Morgan's office 405-521-5565 encouraging them to approve the study, are also in order.You can find out who your legislators are by going to put in your address and scroll down to your State Senator and State Representative, their office phone numbers will also be listed.Hee are the facts so far:Representative Bill Nations and Senator Judy Eason McIntyre have agreed to do an interim Study on Medical Marijuana. We are now awaiting the approval by the Speaker and Pro Tem andthe appointment of committee members.Please forward this to your friends and neighbors in the state.If you have any questions you can call Norma Sapp at:405-321-4619ecko
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Comment #3 posted by observer on June 04, 2005 at 08:40:26 PT
Mike Clifford
But Mike Clifford of Costa Mesa took the unfortunate step of making his objections personal. Instead of arguing against the facts I presented, Clifford wondered "if Steve Smith has partaken too much marijuana himself to have the opinion he does."I think Mr Mike Clifford wants attention. He's got elections on his mind. Grandstanding on the evils of marijuana for youth is always a sure winner.Mike Clifford ==>
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on June 04, 2005 at 08:29:43 PT
Cannabis prohibition is work of the devil.
Caging sick humans for using a plant is quite simply the wrong thing to do.It would all be different if Christ God Our Father commanded Us to hate one another.Every single Christian that You meet who supports or rationalizes caging one another for using what God said is good on the 1st page of the Bible,is a DISOBEDIENT CHRISTIAN.Disobedient Christians should be treated like the devil.Cannabis prohibitionists should be treated like the devil.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 04, 2005 at 07:21:22 PT
Thanks You Steve Smith
Thank you for standing up for medical marijuana and for mentioning Peter McWilliams. We lost a special person when we lost Peter.
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