Pubdate: Thu, 24 May 2001
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2001 Detroit Free Press
Author: Jane Marcus
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


One of the standard responses to arguments in support of medical marijuana 
is that it would send the wrong message to children. I'm convinced that by 
keeping marijuana a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the federal government 
is sending the wrong message to my 14-year-old daughter.

My daughter's Sunday school teacher, a close family friend, contracted HIV 
through a blood transfusion in 1982. Diagnosed more than a decade later, 
AIDS eventually caught up with her. The side effects of the medications she 
took forced her to stop teaching. She couldn't eat and was being fed 
through a tube. She wasted away and looked like a skeleton. After visiting 
her, my daughter had nightmares.

In January 1997, California's Compassionate Use Act went into effect, and 
we encouraged our friend to try cannabis. As a Sunday school teacher, she 
thought it would send the wrong message to her students. We convinced her 
to try it in private. Within weeks, she was eating voraciously. She was out 
and about, enjoying herself. She returned to the classroom.

Our young daughter saw the transformation. This medicine gave our friend 
two more years of life. In May 1999, our friend died from a ruptured 
pancreas, a result of the toxic AIDS medications she took.

My daughter fully understands that Congress has made possession of 
marijuana a federal crime. I recently asked her whether the mixed messages 
confused her and how she could reconcile the government's stance with her 
own experience. "No, I'm not confused," she said. "They're just stupid."

My daughter sees through the government's stubborn refusal to admit to 
marijuana's obvious medical benefit and the disinformation campaign used to 
support that inhumane position. And that sends the wrong message to my kid.

Jane Marcus

Palo Alto, Calif.
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