Pubdate: Fri, 25 Aug 2000
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
Copyright: 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Contact:  P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802
Fax: (808) 523-8509
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 

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 speech.

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 reprisal?

Pamela Lichty
Vice President Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii
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