Pubdate: Fri, 25 Aug 2000
Date: 08/25/2000
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
Author: Pamela Lichty

Your Aug. 7 editorial, "Medical marijuana use under feds' challenge,"
continues the Star-Bulletin's history of trying to scare Hawaii
physicians and others about our recently enacted legislation before
it's even up and running.

In Conant vs. McCaffery, a group of California doctors, patients and
nonprofits sued the feds alleging that the government was violating
their free speech rights. To date, federal judges have agreed and
issued two orders barring the feds from punishing doctors for
discussing cannabis with their patients. They opined that a discussion
between a doctor and patient constitutes an important form of free

The only thing new is that, in the most recent hearing, the feds
became more strident in their threats. They warned that doctors who
suggest the use of marijuana may risk their right to participate in
federal programs including Medicaid, Medicare and the ability to write
prescriptions. This would threaten their very livelihoods. Friday,
August 25, 2000

While your editorial correctly states that the case is not yet
decided, the government offered no new arguments, and the decision
(due within the month) is expected to again uphold physicians' free
speech rights.

Eight states including Hawaii have now removed criminal penalties for
medical use of marijuana. When will the feds acknowledge that this is
something the American people want, and back off on their threats of

Pamela Lichty, Vice President Drug Policy Forum of