Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jan 2003
Source: Herald-Times, The (IN)
Copyright: 2003 The Herald-Times
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


To the editor:

Kudos to Bloomington physician Clark Brittain for making the case for 
compassionate-use medical marijuana legislation. Not only should medical 
marijuana be made available to patients in need, but marijuana prohibition 
itself should be subjected to a cost-benefit analysis. Unfortunately, a 
review of marijuana legislation would open up a Pandora's box most 
politicians would just as soon avoid. America's marijuana laws are based on 
culture and xenophobia, not science.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration 
during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical 
Association. White Americans did not even begin to smoke marijuana until a 
soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness 

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been 
counterproductive at best. An estimated 38 percent of Americans have now 
smoked pot. The reefer madness myths have long been discredited, forcing 
the drug war gravy train to spend millions of tax dollars on politicized 
research, trying to find harm in a relatively harmless plant.

The direct experience of millions of Americans contradicts the 
sensationalistic myths used to justify marijuana prohibition. Illegal drug 
use is the only public health issue wherein key stakeholders are not only 
ignored, but actively persecuted and incarcerated. In terms of medical 
marijuana, those stakeholders happen to be cancer and AIDS patients.

Robert Sharpe, Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
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