Congress Should OK Medical Marijuana

Congress Should OK Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on June 12, 2005 at 07:28:51 PT
Editorial Opinion
Source: Daily Herald
USA -- The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision on medical marijuana illustrates one of the absurdities of the so-called "war on drugs."The court ruled 6-3 that the government could prosecute people who grow and smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes, even if state law permits people to use marijuana to relieve pain or ease a medical condition under a doctor's care.
It somehow determined that growing marijuana for medicinal purposes is a matter of interstate commerce, and the federal government therefore trumps state laws. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the court, said medical marijuana proponents should take their case up with Congress to enact a federal law allowing medical marijuana sales.Barring a sudden attitude change, that is not going to happen. Few members of Congress will want to risk a linkage to 1970s' stoners Cheech and Chong. Many in the government's attitudes toward marijuana remain as depicted in the 1930s "Reefer Madness," the film that showed marijuana as a drug responsible for all kinds of evil.Nobody is advocating wholesale legalization of marijuana, even though marijuana is more benign than alcohol in some respects. What medical marijuana proponents seek is to use marijuana to relieve pain and suffering in people with chronic or terminal illnesses. For instance, cancer patients who use marijuana experience nausea less frequently after chemotherapy treatments and have an increased appetite. The marijuana allows them to get -- and retain -- the nutrients they need to keep up their strength and battle the disease. AIDS patients have had similar experience: it allows many to live more functional lives.Marijuana also benefits glaucoma patients by relieving pressure inside the eyeballs, thus helping preserve eyesight for people who may otherwise go blind.It is a weak argument that marijuana would become increasingly available for recreational use. State laws require a doctor's note authorizing marijuana use. As with other narcotics, production can be controlled. Allowing only licensed pharmaceutical companies, for example, to cultivate marijuana and distribute it to doctors might solve the problem. That's how it works with many controlled substances that are useful in medicine.The potential for addiction is likewise a weak argument against the medical use of marijuana. Pain killers such as morphine are addictive, yet no doctor with an ounce of compassion would deny a suffering patient relief just because there's a chance he'll become dependent. Why should marijuana be any different? If a human being is dying already, what difference does it make if he becomes addicted? Marijuana is certainly not as dangerous to society as any number of hard narcotics that are prescribed every day for use in hospitals or homes.But government has never been a model of consistency. Why is it OK, for example, to open new lines of embryonic stem cells to experimentation in hopes that it might alleviate suffering someday, but it's not OK to grant a simple prescription of marijuana to alleviate suffering today, even though the medical benefits of marijuana have already been scientifically validated?It is time for Congress to step in, as the Supreme Court's marijuana opinion suggests. This issue needs to be resolved. The same members of Congress who support further stem cell research (and this included Utah's delegation) should take the lead in cleaning up government's approach to medical marijuana.This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page A6.Source: Daily Herald, The (Provo, UT)Published: Sunday, June 12, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Daily HeraldContact: dmeyers heraldextra.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links on Marijuana Leaders Should Act To Protect Congress Have The Guts To Tackle MMJ? 
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on June 13, 2005 at 03:42:11 PT
"Nobody is advocating wholesale legalization of marijuana, even though marijuana is more benign than alcohol in some respects."Is he implying that EVERYBODY is advocating JAIL for simple possession?
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Comment #1 posted by runderwo on June 12, 2005 at 13:08:53 PT
"Nobody is advocating wholesale legalization of marijuana, even though marijuana is more benign than alcohol in some respects."A better statement would be that "I am not advocating wholesale legalization of marijuana". It is clearly false that "nobody is advocating it", and still false that "no medical marijuana advocate" would be advocating full legalization.
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