Pubdate: Sat, 05 Mar 2005
Source: Peoria Journal Star (IL)
Copyright: 2005sPeoria Journal Star
Author: J.D. Wheeler
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


In a Feb. 26 Forum letter, Carolyn Hedden argues against the medical use of 
marijuana, claiming it's a dangerous drug. She cites a young man who ran 
into a school bus while "stoned."

People who cause harm to others while under the influence of any drug must 
be held accountable. To raise this in the discussion of a medical issue is 
a red herring.

Hedden also says that maybe "someday scientists will isolate the 
pain-killing properties of marijuana and make a safe, legal drug." The fact 
is that marijuana in pill form is legal and has been for a long time. It's 
called Dronabinol and marketed under the brand name Marinol. It can be 
prescribed by physicians. It's principally used in the treatment of 
glaucoma, the side effects from chemotherapy and as an appetite stimulant 
for the chronically ill.

The pill form of the drug has the advantage that it provides a more 
accurate way of regulating the dose. Those who argue in favor of smoking 
say that results in faster and better relief. According to a recent report 
from the Drug Policy Alliance, 11 states have legalized marijuana for 
medical purposes. Still, Congress and the federal courts have balked.

The hypocrisy underlying this debate is enormous. The two most dangerous 
drugs, both in terms of morbidity and mortality - alcohol and tobacco - are 
not only legal but subsidized by our tax dollars. To deny seriously ill 
people something which might improve their quality of life is 
unconscionable and immoral.

J.D. Wheeler

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