Pubdate: Mon, 04 Jun 2001
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2001 San Jose Mercury News
Author: Jane Marcus
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


A standard response to arguments in support of medical marijuana is 
that ``it would be sending the wrong message to the children.'' I'm 
convinced that by keeping marijuana a Schedule One controlled 
substance (Opinion, May 17), the federal government is sending the 
wrong message to my 14-year-old daughter.

Our 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 medications 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, Proposition 215, 
went into effect and we encouraged our friend to try cannabis, since 
she clearly qualified for its use. As a Sunday school teacher, she 
thought it would send the wrong message to her students. We finally 
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 daughter saw the transformation. This unique medicine gave our 
friend two more years of life. In May 1999, our friend died from a 
ruptured pancreas, a result of the highly toxic AIDS medications she 

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 direct experience. ``No, I'm not confused,'' she 
said. ``They're just stupid.''

I want the next generation to be able to look up to our government 
and elected leaders. 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
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