Pubdate: Sat, 30 Oct 2010
Source: Vail Daily (CO)
Copyright: 2010 Vail Daily
Author: Robert F. Hickey


Recent discussions across the country, including in this paper, by
opponents of medical marijuana have been based on ignorance and
misinformation. Unfortunately, this includes Buddy Sims' letter
published on Tuesday.

First, from a professional perspective, let me say that in treating
thousands of people who have become victims of their use of alcohol
and other drugs since 1970, I have never treated a marijuana addict. I
have never been called to an emergency room to treat an out-of-control
or violent marijuana user. I have never completed a court-ordered
evaluation for a defendant who was accused of domestic violence as a
result of marijuana use. I have never heard of five or six law
enforcement officers being needed to tackle, control or otherwise
subdue a crazed marijuana user.

Marijuana is not a narcotic! That is a law enforcement
characterization, not a medical, biological or chemical

Contrary to quotes in Mr. Sims' letter by Kevin Sabet, special
adviser, Office of National Drug Control Policy, marijuana is not a
dangerous drug which causes documented health and social problems.

Where is the documentation? The only documentation of social problems
are those which arise from the prohibition of marijuana and the
750,000 subsequent arrests for possession of small amounts of the
plant each year.

The social problems come as a result of the billions of dollars spent
each year by law enforcement agencies across the country.

The social problems come from the inequities of law enforcement
against minorities in the country. African-Americans are five to 10
times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites,
yet on a per capita basis, whites use marijuana in greater numbers
than all minorities. As Alice Huffman, president of the California
NAACP said recently, " ... being caught up in the criminal justice
system does more harm to young people than marijuana itself."

And by what authority does Sabet dictate that marijuana "should not be
subject to voter approval for its use"?

In prohibiting and prosecuting marijuana possession, the so-called
cure has become exponentially more dangerous than the disease! The war
on marijuana has cost $4 trillion since June 15, 1971, to say nothing
of the costs in terms of violations of civil rights and human rights.
In addition, it has given rise to the private prison industry and the
vile, socially irresponsible, multi-billion dollar Corrections
Corporation of


Second, from a personal perspective, I had the experience of going
through hemodialysis treatments four to five times a week for just
more than five years.

For some dialysis patients, the treatments cause severe nausea and
vomiting. I was fortunate in that I rarely had to contend with such

However, for the dozens of fellow patients I met, marijuana was the
only medication that gave them any level of relief.

Mr. Sims, I hope you never contract an illness which would require you
to have to look for relief that others would try to deny you.

Robert F. Hickey

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