Where is The Compassion?

Where is The Compassion?
Posted by CN Staff on June 11, 2005 at 07:28:08 PT
Source: Toledo Blade
USA -- Now it's up to Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld federal drug laws that permit prosecution of marijuana use for medical purposes. The court said the authority was squarely within Congress' power to grant.If that's the case, it's up to Congress to change the application of the federal drug law to make exceptions for medical marijuana.
The House will soon vote on an appropriations amendment that would prohibit the Justice Department from spending money on drug enforcement when the targets are patients using and growing marijuana to ease suffering from a variety of painful conditions. A similar amendment failed last year despite growing bipartisan support.It ought to pass this time as a humane gesture at least. Eleven states have recognized the relief cannabis brings to patients with dire medical needs that accompany diagnoses from AIDS to cancer to a host of debilitating syndromes. For some chronically or terminally ill patients, marijuana is the godsend that gets them through the day.The Supreme Court's ruling will not invalidate those state laws but will deny them the cover of immunity from enforcement of federal drug laws.Interestingly, during his 2000 campaign candidate George Bush said medical marijuana use was an issue best left to the states.But as President Bush it's a different story. His administration has raided and prosecuted medical marijuana suppliers in California, and its drug czar, John Walters, dismisses the "pro-drug politics that are being promoted in America under the guise of medicine."How misguided. Angel Raich of Oakland, one of two northern California women whose challenge to the federal drug law wound up before the high court, has an inoperable brain tumor and other medical problems. Her co-plaintiff, Diane Monson, suffers from severe back spasms. Their doctors recommended marijuana for their pain.Only after the Monson property was raided and federal agents seized six marijuana plants in 2002 did she join Ms. Raich in a civil suit claiming immunity from federal enforcement. Since 1996, California law has protected patients from state prosecution if they receive marijuana with the recommendation of their physician.A federal appeals court ruling had shielded the medical marijuana statute from the reach of federal drug enforcement until the Supreme Court sided with the overriding authority of the federal government.California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said the ruling "shows the vast philosophical differences between the federal government and Californians on the rights of patients to have access to the medicine they need to survive and lead healthier lives."The White House would like to believe the Supreme Court ruling "marks the end of medical marijuana as a political issue." It does not. The states' that have made an exception to marijuana use for sick and dying patients believe they should be free to set their own laws.The lobbying efforts have begun on Capitol Hill to cut off funding for enforcement of federal drug laws against medical marijuana in states where it is legal. The day of arresting patients for using medical marijuana in compliance with state medical laws should be long gone.The "war on drugs" wasn't meant to be waged against the sick and dying. Others, like those involved in serious drug trafficking, pose much more of a threat to society.Source: Toledo Blade, The (OH) Published: Saturday, June 11, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Blade Contact: letters Website: Related Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links as Medicine Marijuana as a Schedule II Drug Will Congress Have The Guts To Tackle MMJ?
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