Pubdate: Thu, 19 Sep 2002
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2002 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Andrew Brunette
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Why Are Alcohol, Tobacco, Obesity Acceptable Risks?

Editor, The Times:

I was pleased to see your editorial support for medical marijuana 
("Misjudging marijuana," Times, Sept. 10), but disheartened to see the 
implied disapproval of recreational use of pot. Your concluding statement 
was, "The problem is ensuring that marijuana actually is used for medical, 
not recreational, purposes." Why, precisely, is that a problem? Disapproval 
for either use is not supported by the data we have.

Medical marijuana is an issue today because of the disconnect between 
government policy and medical reality. Government policy insists that 
marijuana has no therapeutic value, while hundreds of doctors and thousands 
of patients have discovered that there is in fact significant value. The 
citizens of Washington and many other states largely agree.

There seems to be no mechanism whereby the government can admit it is 
wrong, so thousands of government agents are forced to engage in a dance of 
denial, while thousands of sick and dying people are denied a source of relief.

Similarly, government policy insists marijuana has no safe recreational 
value, while literally tens of millions of U.S. citizens have discovered 
differently. The vast preponderance of evidence is that recreational use of 
marijuana by adults is far safer than other permitted recreational drugs, 
to wit, alcohol, and that the health risks of marijuana are dwarfed by the 
health risks of alcohol, tobacco and obesity. So, if we permit adults to 
engage in consumption of alcohol, tobacco and food, what is the logic for 
constraining their choices in other, safer pursuits?

The problem is not recreational use of marijuana, it is the U.S. 
government's cynical policy of war against its own citizens, for the sake 
of preserving the federal drug-enforcement bureaucracy.

Andrew Brunette, Bellevue
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager