Pubdate: Tue, 24 Sep 2002
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2002 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Author: Jennifer Sparks


Thank you for giving so much press and engaging in debate about the recent 
events surrounding medical marijuana. As a caretaker and someone who has 
watched people living and dying with cancer and AIDS, I felt I should add 
my own opinions.

People who are dying or going through painful procedures are given a slew 
of drugs to help deal with pain and suffering. Opium and its derivatives 
are among the choice painkillers given in cases of extreme pain.

Santa Cruz resident and City Council candidate Phil Baer held up a sign at 
the rally "decrying the connection he sees between marijuana use and heroin 
problems in the Beach Flats." I have news for this candidate: heroin, in 
its processed and controlled form of morphine, is already legal. Maybe his 
time would be better spent picketing the thousands of hospitals, nursing 
homes and hospice sights where morphine is used on a minute-to-minute basis 
as pain control. Is this adding to the Beach Flats' heroin problem? I think 
not, and these people who are suffering and using marijuana as a treatment 
for diseases are not either.

Another argument I heard was that medical marijuana is a bad example for 
kids. As the Sentinel already brought up Martin Luther King, I don't have 
to go far for an example of people who broke the law to follow their 
beliefs and increase their freedom. Few could argue that Martin Luther King 
never broke the law, and yet he never broke the fundamental law of this 
country that all people should be treated with dignity and respect. The 
right to be free of pain and to work with a doctor to alleviate suffering 
is a fundamental right. If we have to fight to uphold it, our children 
should watch and be proud.

Jennifer Sparks

Santa Cruz
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth