Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jul 2000
Source: Journal Gazette (IN)
Copyright: 2000 Journal Gazette
Contact:  600 W. Main Street, Ft. Wayne, IN. 46802
Fax: (219) 461-8648
Author: R. Keith Stroup, Executive Director, NORML


Rep. Mark Souder continues to demonstrate his insensitivity to sick
and dying patients for whom marijuana provides relief from pain and
suffering. Marijuana provides much needed relief to many patients
suffering from a range of illnesses, including cancer, AIDS, MS and
other diseases involving spasticity, and for whom traditional
medications have been ineffective.

Contrary to the overly simplistic analysis offered by the congressman,
not all federal laws overrule state law. In fact, only when Congress
specifically declares its intention to usurp the field does federal
law trump state law, and no such declaration has been made regarding
marijuana policy. It would do enormous damage to our democratic
principles were Congress to overrule the valid state elections
approving the medical use of marijuana in seven states.

While it is true that NORML supports decriminalizing the responsible
recreational use of marijuana, as well as the medical use by seriously
ill patients, the two issues are separate and each must be evaluated
on its own merits. Rep. Souder seems unable to distinguish between the
two, and he is willing to deny an effective medication to seriously
ill patients in order to demonstrate his "tough on drugs" credentials.
Shame on you, Rep. Souder.

Executive Director, NORML
Washington, D.C.
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