Pubdate: Sun, 20 Apr 2003
Source: Palm Beach Post, The (FL)
Copyright: 2003 The Palm Beach Post
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


In response to the excellent April 7 article about Boca Raton resident 
Irvin Rosenfeld ("Man travels, packing pot for medicine"): The fact that 
the federal government continues to supply medical marijuana to patients 
grandfathered in to the government's compassionate-use program before it 
was closed to new patients in 1991 underscores the hypocrisy of the Bush 
administration's disregard for states' rights. By raiding voter-approved 
medical marijuana providers in California, the same government that claims 
illicit drug use finances terrorism is forcing cancer and AIDS patients to 
buy from street dealers.

Lost in the debate over medical marijuana is the ugly truth behind 
marijuana prohibition. America's marijuana laws are based on culture and 
xenophobia, not science. The first were enacted in response to Mexican 
immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American 
Medical Association. White Americans did not even begin to smoke marijuana 
until a government bureaucracy began financing "reefer madness" propaganda.

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been 
counterproductive at best. An estimated 38 percent of Americans have smoked 
pot. The reefer-madness myths long have 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. Illegal drug 
use is the only public health issue wherein key stakeholders are not only 
ignored but 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
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