Pubdate: Fri, 17 Jan 2003
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2003 Asbury Park Press
Author: Jim Miller
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)

[Letter of the Day]


It's time to redefine what a "family show" is on television. I like the new
show, "Everwood," that airs Monday evenings. It stars Treat Williams as a
retired surgeon who moves his family to Everwood, Colo., after his wife
dies. He has time to get reacquainted with his son and daughter and treat
patients free because he doesn't need the money. This is the kind of show
that a family can watch together.

What would happen in that small town if it became known that someone had
been growing marijuana that was available for sick people to use? Thanks to
the producers for trying realism. I couldn't have been more surprised to see
them show a town meeting where one doctor says that for every pain that
marijuana could get rid of, there were 20 legal drugs available to do the
same thing. The new doctor in town (Williams' character) explained that side
effects of other drugs should be considered and that having other drugs
available didn't mean that all drugs work the same for all patients.

The show ends with the townspeople voting to burn the weed, even after one
elderly resident tells everyone that he has less than six weeks to live
because of pancreatic cancer and couldn't keep his legal medicine down
without smoking marijuana. No hippie here, just an old man who didn't want
to spend his final days throwing up. His doctor, the original town doctor,
is shocked. He goes to the dying patient's home and apologizes for letting
him down when he needed help the most. Then the good doctor gives him a
medicine bottle that contains what he describes as a strong pain reliever to
help him in his final days. The elderly man opens the container to find
joints in it.

I'm going to have to reconsider my definition of family television.
Apparently realism is allowed. The National Office on Drug Control Policy
will have you believe that such a television show will give kids a wrong
message. I'm not sure compassion and reason are a wrong message. I think
that kids could use a little more truth and a little less "protection."
Perhaps honesty is the best policy.

Jim Miller
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