Pubdate: Sun, 04 Apr 1999
Date: 04/04/1999
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Author: James E. Gierach
Re:  “Medical Marijuana” (4/3/99 Editorial)

As a visitor to the nation’s capital to see my daughter for the Easter
holiday, it was disappointing to read the ifs-ands-and-buts “Medical
Marijuana” editorial (4/3/99) in The Washington Post.  Our national
leaders have so politicized drug-war issues that most Americans would
like to see thoughtful and unequivocal editorial support for medical
marijuana and a rejection of further foot-dragging in the delivery of
effective medicine to a segment of the sick and dying.

That smoked marijuana is a crude delivery system, and an irritant to
the anti-smoking and the anti-drug stalwarts, does not justify the
actions of government leaders who wilfully obstruct the delivery of
effective medicine to the sick.  Based upon the marijuana trials of
millions upon millions of Americans, there is little reason to be
fearful of a general relaxation of marijuana drug laws.   And based
upon mounds of anecdotal evidence and the latest expert report -- this
time, the Institute of Medicine report -- there is little reason to be
skeptical of the benefits of smoked marijuana.

Indeed, at this point in time, it would be better to err on the side
of a smoking Camel, a coughing Marboro man or appetite-enhancing
marijuana brownie than continue witchcraft politics that prohibit
medicinal marijuana.

It is wrongheaded for national leaders, editorial boards and drug
czars to lag so far behind an informed public opinion on the medical
marijuana question.  And lag they do, as evidenced repeatedly in state
and District of Columbia referenda.  The drug-war whipping boy has
been flogged long enough, especially in the marijuana department.  If
tight controls and Class-I scheduling nonsense continue, then, for an
important segment of the sick and suffering, the streets will continue
to be a more viable refuge from chronic pain and nausea than the
family doctor’s office.

A sluggish further delay by the U.S. Congress and state legislatures
in making medical marijuana freely available to all those who might
benefit is cruel and wrong.  The denial of a medical marijuana
prescription to a patient who needs one will only add to the long list
of patients who were caught in drug-war crossfire and treated by
physicians practicing with one hand tied behind their backs.

James E. Gierach Attorney at Law 9759 Southwest Highway Oak Lawn, IL
60453 B. (708) 424-1600