Pubdate: Sat, 29 Mar 2003
Source: Ocean County Observer (NJ)
Copyright: 2003 Ocean County Observer
Author: Thomas J. Hillgardner


Terrence Farley is a law enforcement official whose paycheck might shrink 
if the drug war was called off and almost every "fact" here cites as 
evidence of the harmfulness of marijuana has been either discredited by 
scientific evidence or, even worse, has no basis in fact. Farley's letter 
begins by restating many of the ridiculous claims about marijuana use 
contained in a letter dated Nov. 1 from the White House Office of National 
Drug Control Policy to the nation's district attorneys.

That letter and a point-by-point refutation with citations to scientific 
studies is available on the Web site of the National Organization for 
Reform of Marijuana Laws at and I refer readers who want to 
know the truth about marijuana to that Web site rather than burden them 
with a rehash here of all the falsehoods contained therein.

If you are unsure who to believe given the conflicting statements of 
advocates on both sides of the marijuana issue, you might want to ask 
yourself why does the drug czar refuse to debate the drug-reform movement 
concerning his claims?

But the most ironic thing about Farley's exhortation that the medical 
marijuana movement is a hoax is his claim that medical marijuana is 
unneeded because of the availability of Marinol, the pharmaceutical 
company's brand of tetrahydrocannabinnol or THC, the substance many 
consider the "active ingredient" in marijuana.

First, there has been little study of marijuana smoke as medicine and it is 
a convenient assumption that THC is the only "active ingredient" that gives 
relief to its users.

An enormous amount of anecdotal evidence suggests other substances in 
marijuana smoke may be providing users with relief, but the government is 
afraid to fund this research because it might reveal facts that run 
contrary to its policy goals.

Second, many Marinol users complain it leaves them lethargic because the 
dosage is too strong and is not easily regulated, as a user can do through 

While marijuana smoke does contain harmful tars in higher concentrations 
than tobacco, stronger strains of marijuana allow users to smoke much less 
than a typical cigarette smoker, so much so that the dangers posed by tars 
are minimal in actual practice. Why is law enforcement asking users to use 
higher concentrations of THC when every doctor knows that you should use as 
little as necessary of any drug?

The whole problem with the war on drugs is that we allowed law enforcement 
to make the medical decisions rather than our family physicians. That 
marijuana was a useful home remedy for centuries before 1937, when the 
federal government outlawed it, should guide our future marijuana policy.

It is time for law enforcement to step back and allow medical doctors to 
make the call.

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