Pubdate: Mon, 09 Jan 2006
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 2006 The Capital Times
Author: Dr. David Bearman, Goleta, Calif.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Dear Editor: As the son of a pharmacist from Rice Lake, a 1963 
graduate of the University of Wisconsin who started his medical 
career in the Medical School in Madison, and someone with almost 40 
years' experience in the field of drug abuse treatment and prevention 
and the last five years evaluating patients for medicinal cannabis, I 
want to compliment Rep. Gregg Underheim and the Wisconsin Assembly 
Health Committee for their recognition of the contemporary medicinal 
value of cannabis.

The committee is approaching this seriously and getting valuable 
input. It recognizes the 5,000 years of experience of medicinal use 
of cannabis. It is aware that just over the border in Canada, 
tincture of cannabis (Sativex) is being marketed by Bayer AG and in 
England the Home Office has given physicians the OK to prescribe 
tincture of cannabis.

I have taught courses on drugs at California universities and am very 
familiar with the history of medicinal cannabis use in the United 
States from 1839 to the present, and aware of the American Medical 
Association's testimony at the 1937 marijuana tax hearings that "the 
AMA knows of no danger in the use of cannabis and takes histories 
from countless patients with severe medical illness who benefited 
from their medicinal use of cannabis."

Consequently, I am baffled by the opposition of the Wisconsin Medical 
Society. This does not represent the compassion shown by the doctors 
in Rice Lake and Rochester who provided my father's care, nor does it 
reflect the quality of basic science I was taught by the UW School of 
Medicine in Madison.

I have seen patients who come in in wheelchairs, with canes, stooped 
in pain, who tell of the relief they receive from cannabis. These are 
people from all walks of life rich and poor, mostly over 40. Several 
have broken down in tears after receiving their approval making it 
legal to grow and possess cannabis. They say they are not lawbreakers 
or criminals and now can use this to medicate without fear of breaking the law.

We have far too many problems in the country to waste government 
resources arresting the ill and dying for using a medicine that 
provides relief and is legal in Canada, less than 100 miles from the 
Wisconsin border.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman