Pubdate: Fri, 28 Oct 2005
Source: Gainesville Sun, The (FL)
Copyright: 2005 The Gainesville Sun
Author: Joe Fiore


Medical marijuana ballot initiatives have passed in every state that
has voted on them. So far, only two state legislatures -- Hawaii and
Vermont -- have had the courage to stop arresting marijuana-using
patients without an initiative from the voters. This is not a partisan
issue, it is a compassion issue.

Many otherwise illegal substances, such as cocaine and morphine, can
legally be prescribed by doctors. The same should be true for
marijuana. Many of the legal alternatives proposed by opponents of
medical marijuana are too expensive, too addictive and have too many
side effects to be good medicine for all patients.

Chemotherapy patients who are too nauseated to eat or swallow a pill
should not have to fear arrest if they -- and their doctors -- find
that smoking marijuana is the most effective means of treating their

Ultimately, the decision of what medicine is best for an illness
should be left up to the patient and the doctor, not to the government.

When they have their doctors' approval, patients should be able to use
medical marijuana without fear of arrest and imprisonment. They should
also be able to rely on a safe supply of marijuana, without having to
resort to the dangerous criminal market.

The state government should use tax money to prosecute violent crime,
not punish medical marijuana users. The Florida's Legislature should
enact laws that protect patients from arrest and imprisonment.

Joe Fiore

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