Pubdate: Fri, 15 Oct 2010
Source: Birmingham News, The (AL)
Copyright: 2010 Thomas Pearson
Author: Thomas Pearson


Next month, Alabamians will have the opportunity to vote for
candidates to represent their interests in Montgomery. Freedom to
choose one's representatives is a right Alabamians cherish.
Unfortunately, the freedom to choose is something that is routinely
denied to chronically and terminally ill Alabamians who choose to
treat their conditions using marijuana.

Though marijuana has proved to be an effective treatment for chronic
pain, nausea, wasting syndrome and many other conditions, ill
Alabamians who use marijuana to treat these conditions face arrest and
possible imprisonment for use of a substance that 14 other states as
well as the District of Columbia have recognized as an effective medication.

The American Medical Association, based on its own research showing
the medical effectiveness of marijuana, recommended last year that
marijuana be moved out of Schedule One, which contains drugs that have
"no medical value" according to the federal government, and approved
for more clinical trials and research.

According to a 2004 poll, 75 percent of Alabamians think Alabama's
policy of prosecuting and even locking up the chronically and
terminally ill, thereby denying them the freedom to choose marijuana
as a treatment, is bad policy.

Next spring, state Rep. Patricia Todd will reintroduce the Michael
Phillips Compassionate Care Act, which will allow Alabama's most ill
citizens to treat certain ailments with medical marijuana. The bill
will remove criminal penalties for medical marijuana patients and will
establish a tightly regulated distribution system for patients.
Alabamians of all political stripes should back this measure to treat
our sick and dying with compassion and give them the freedom to choose
an effective treatment option.

Thomas Pearson

Executive director

Alabama Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws

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