Pubdate: Fri, 23 Nov 2001
Source: Palm Beach Post (FL)
Copyright: 2001 The Palm Beach Post
Author: John R. Hines


Republican actions speak louder than words. Thanks to Clarence Page for his 
enlightening article about Attorney General John Ashcroft undermining the 
will of Oregon voters despite the fact that the "Death with Dignity Act" 
they approved twice already has withstood legal challenge ("Attorney 
general has no business at deathbed," Nov. 13). By coercing doctors with 
the threat of revocation of their licences to prescribe federally 
controlled medicines, such as painkillers, he is interfering in the 
doctor-patient relationship and the practice of medicine.

Mr. Ashcroft and another Bush appointee, Drug Enforcement Administration 
chief Asa Hutchinson, have undermined the will of the voters in California 
and, subsequently, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Washington and 
Hawaii. Each of these states has passed a medical marijuana law, allowing 
use of the illegal drug with a doctor's prescription. Most qualifying 
patients are afflicted with multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS or cancer and have 
tried every other known treatment, finding that marijuana provides the 
greatest relief with the least objectionable side effects.

The Los Angeles Cannabis Resource center, with the cooperation of the 
county sheriff's office, had been filling prescriptions for 960 patients 
until Mr. Hutchinson sent 30 federal agents to raid the center. Rather than 
pursue real criminals, Bush appointees are adding to the suffering of 
thousands of severely ill patients. Ironically, in negating millions of 
votes in the name of federal law, they are forcing sick people to seek 
relief from real drug dealers.

Republicans are fond of saying they want to keep government out of people's 
lives. They claim they favor state and local control whenever possible. 
Apparently, those principles apply only when state and local officials act 
in accord with conservative Republican beliefs.


North Palm Beach 
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