Pubdate: Thu, 08 Jan 2009
Source: Times, The (Trenton, NJ)
Copyright: 2009 The Times
Author: Steven Fenichel, M.D
Note: Headline by Newshawk


Access to medical  marijuana for sick patients would be a no-brainer
in a  just and caring society ("Medical marijuana finally gains
ground," Dec. 22, 2008). However, we live in New Jersey, where the
lawmakers generally vote based on which side contributes the most to
their campaigns.

It is obvious that drug companies, the alcohol and  tobacco in
dustries, criminal lawyers, prison guards and police unions have
unlimited resources to buy political influence with our state
lawmakers. The other side of the medical marijuana fight comprises
the sick, who struggle to pay for their care:

The cancer patient, whose chemotherapy results in profound nausea
and vomiting.

The glaucoma patient, whose intraocular pressure can't be controlled
with legal medicine and, without cannabis, faces blindness.

The person who suffers from epilepsy, whose seizures resist

Patients with multiple sclerosis, who cannot tolerate the side
effects of legal medicines.

Other conditions that are known to benefit from Cannabis Sativa
include AIDS, paraplegia and quadriplegia, chronic pain, migraine,
rheumatic diseases, depression and other mood disorders, as well  as
severe menstrual cramps, etc.

No one has ever died from smoking marijuana. Thousands die each year
from legal nonprescription and prescription drugs.

With marijuana's safety profile, it is imperative that patients who
benefit from this natural herb be allowed to use it without fear of
arrest, major legal expense and a possible prison sentence.

I thank state Sens. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, and Nicholas Scutari,
D-Union, for their support of this long-overdue bill (S88/A933) to
legalize marijuana for compassionate use.It is now time for New
Jersey citizens to talk with their state representatives to learn
where they stand on this very important issue.

Steven Fenichel, M.D

Ocean City
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