Pubdate: Fri, 06 Sep 2002
Source: Wisconsin Rapids Tribune (WI)
Copyright: 2002 2001, The Daily Tribune
Author: Gary Storck


Jane Marshall's letter, "Sentence not harsh enough" (Aug 29), criticizing 
the sentence given to a nursing assistant who stole pain patches from 
elderly nursing home residents got me thinking.

While stealing pain patches is certainly reprehensible, is it any less 
reprehensible than politicians who oppose legalizing medical marijuana, 
thereby denying patients a tool that could ease their suffering and improve 
their quality of life? Certainly there is no shortage of elected officials 
and candidates from both Republican and Democratic parties who have worked 
to deny medical marijuana.

One such person is 69th District State Assembly Rep. Scott Suder 
(R-Abbotsford), who, at the behest of Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, buried 
this session's medical marijuana bill in the Criminal Justice Committee he 
chairs, effectively killing it. There is Jensen himself, who gave Suder the 
order. There is Gov. Scott McCallum, who could have supported the bill and 
asked Speaker Jensen to hold hearings on it, but didn't. There is 
Democratic candidate for governor Tom Barrett, who supports the federal 
classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no medical uses, who 
has refused to cosponsor the federal "States Rights to Medical Act" and 
joined a host of right-wing Republican ideologues in voting for a 
resolution "Expressing the Sense of Congress that Marijuana is a Dangerous 
and Addictive Drug and Should not be Legalized for Medicinal Use."

Fortunately, voters can be the judge of candidates they want to serve. 
Suder has a Democratic opponent, Larry Osegard, and Libertarian candidate 
for governor Ed Thompson has been an outspoken supporter of legalizing 
medical marijuana since he began campaigning last year, demonstrating time 
and time again his commitment to working to make sure a medical marijuana 
bill will be a high priority next year if he is elected governor.

Voters have clear choices in the Sept. 10 primary and the general election 
Nov. 5 to make sure that uncompassionate people like Suder, McCallum and 
Barrett, who are perfectly satisfied with denying an essential medicine to 
our states' sick and dying, will not have another chance to withhold this 
option from those who need it.

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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart