Source: News & Observer (NC) 
Copyright: 1998 The News and Observer Publishing Company 
Pubdate: 13 Dec 1998 
FAX: (919) 829-4877 


Regarding Dr. Linda Bayer's Dec. 8 Op-ed page article "Drug 'legalizers'
make a weak case":

Every marijuana "legalizer" isn't some anti-government anti-establishment
anarchist! I love my country, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with
every single law on the books. Some laws are ridiculous and some are
unjust.  Some were implemented in an effort to protect citizens, some
successful, some not.  The laws regarding marijuana are highly
unsuccessful, locking up fine, otherwise law-abiding citizens; especially
laws regarding the medical use of the drug.

Why does Bayer have to clump every marijuana "legalizer" into a little
group of immature, ill-educated, confused teenagers with their heads in the
clouds about the 1960s?

I completely agree that marijuana should be thoroughly tested before
attempting to legalize it for medical purposes. But the U.S Drug
Enforcement Administration doesn't want it to be, nor do law enforcement
offices across the country -- they make too much money busting marijuana
users. It is extremely hard for research institutes to obtain marijuana for
federal medical research because of the DEA. Something has to be done.
Researchers are capable of doing something good and right, and doing it
through the established governmental agencies too!

Also, the FDA's process of approving drugs doesn't fit well with marijuana.
Case in point, the "double-blind" test.  This is where a drug is
administered to a patient and the patient isn't told if it is the real
thing or a "control" drug (one that has no effect on the patient).  This
test is meant to take away the mental bias of the patients, so they can't
make a decision based on what they think they "like" and a true physical
analysis can be performed.

With marijuana, though, the patients obviously can tell if they are smoking
it or if it is in a pill form.  And since the "smoking" of marijuana is
what actually gives the medicinal benefits, it's hard for researchers to
come up with a procedure for testing marijuana that the FDA will approve of.

Bayer's talk of Marinol as a medical marijuana alternative is simply false.
 Marinol isn't nearly as effective to AIDS patients and chemotherapy
patients who suffer from extensive nausea and pain as is the smoked form of
marijuana.  Some patients can't take the pills because they cough them back
up due to their nausea. Marinol also hasn't been very effective at treating
spasms as a result of spasticity either.

Bayer's article was vague and uninformative, but was a fine piece of
propaganda. That is what the Office of National Drug Control Policy [where
Bayer works] is for, I imagine.

Jason Rudisill
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Checked-by: Richard Lake