Pubdate: Tue, 31 May 2005
Source: Iowa City Press-Citizen (IA)
Copyright: 2005 Iowa City Press-Citizen
Author: Kristin Harms
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


I was a bit confused by the selection made for May 20's guest opinion ("If 
we target one drug, it must be marijuana"). The column, by the president of 
a substance abuse center at Columbia University, was about teenage 
recreational use of marijuana, and was added to the opinion page because of 
the "local connection" of the recent submittal of signatures by an Iowa 
City group for a medical cannabis initiative on the November ballot.

Unfortunately, this "local connection" doesn't exist. Califano makes no 
mention of medical cannabis, nor does he suggest that by allowing terminal 
patients access to this medicine, children are more likely to use 
marijuana. However, many sources have reported since 1996 that states that 
have enacted medical cannabis legislation did not see an increase in teen 
marijuana use.

There's no excuse for experienced journalists to try to pass these 
completely different issues off as one and the same. I would welcome an 
opinion arguing against allowing dying patients to use cannabis to heal 
themselves. This would engage the community in meaningful debate on the 
issue and would allow them to make an informed decision come November.

However, the Press-Citizen has no business confusing its readers on this 
important issue because it's looking for the sensationalist spin on a local 

Kristin Harms

Iowa City
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