Pubdate: Wed, 09 Mar 2005
Source: Cincinnati City Beat (OH)
Copyright: 2005sLightborne Publishing Inc.
Author: Mary Jane Borden


Thank you for publishing the excellent article "Toking
the Cure" (issue of March 2-8). I would like to clarify two points.

First, I'd like to explain the image behind the article's subtitle,
"Medical marijuana isn't about five hippies and a dog." In January, I
visited State Sen. Robert Hagan's office with five other Ohio Patient
Network members. As I heard them eloquently tell their stories, I
realized how damaging the negative stereotype of marijuana is to the
sick and dying. Cannabis, as these patients powerfully showed, is no
longer about hippies and the counterculture. In fact, the senator's
aide mentioned to us afterward that we, as ordinary citizens, might
have more clout with legislators than highly paid lobbyists.

Secondly, I find it interesting that opposition to medical marijuana
in this article appears to center around smoke. I agree that plant
components can be made into pills, but medicine can also come in other
forms like syrups, ointments, suppositories and vapors. As with
insulin for diabetes, when one delivery system becomes problematic
(injection) other less invasive ones (inhaled insulin sprays) are
invented. That is, unless a failed public policy like prohibition is
in place.

Cannabis prohibition forces patients to smoke the herb. Prohibition
causes its market to adopt product forms that are easily concealed,
transported and consumed but not necessarily most healthy. If cannabis
were legal under the Ohio Medical Marijuana Act, patients could grow
or acquire enough to consume it as baked goods, tinctures or vapors
from vaporizers.

With more than 100 medical institutions acknowledging marijuana's
potential and with the issue of smoke resolved, perhaps Gov. Bob Taft,
ODADAS and the Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati will join
Sen. Hagan and support the OMMA. Perhaps they, too, will agree that
it's better to care for and comfort the sick than to arrest, prosecute
and jail them.


Co-founder and Treasurer

Ohio Patient Network
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