Pubdate: Thu, 20 Mar 2003
Source: Daily Times, The (MD)
Copyright: 2003 The Daily Times
Author: Joe Hopwood, MD


The Daily Times story on the efforts in the General Assembly to get 
marijuana to the very ill citizens of Maryland is an important one.

No doubt efforts will be made to spread anti-marijuana propaganda across 
Maryland at the taxpayers expense by the US Justice Department and others 
with a financial interest in continuing the drug war, but I do not think 
Marylanders will be misled again.

Marijuana is an ideal mind altering substance that has fewer toxic side 
effects than aspirin or coffee.   It has a 5000--year history of success as 
a folk medicine.  It is not the cause of addiction, nor is it a "starter 
drug."   Nicotine, a drug more addictive than heroin, in cigarettes does 
all that and more.   We have learned in recent times that inhaling the 
smoke from marijuana makes it a much more flexible treatment for the 
symptoms of illness than it once was.

As we learned in Vietnam, marijuana is an ideal drug for alleviating the 
post-traumatic stress of battle.  Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is 
seriously remiss if he does not to see to it that every soldier in Iraq has 
a few joints in his kit.

Maryland should be the next state to pass laws to allow compassionate use 
of marijuana for medical purposes.  It is a fact that most Americans 
approve of such use.

The real reason that John Ashcroft and others in the government misbehave 
so badly is because when a majority of the states have passed laws 
liberalizing the use and possession of marijuana, the drug war will be 
moot. Most arrests and incarcerations are for marijuana use and possession.

Prohibition of drugs is as silly as the prohibition of sex.  Our bodies are 
our own to use as we see fit.  It is a basic human right.

Jos. E. Hopwood Quantico, MD
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