Pubdate: Sat, 20 Mar 1999
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 1999 The Capital Times
Author: Gary Storck


On March 17 1999, after delaying as long as they could, the U.S.
government's Institutes of Medicine finally released their report on medical
marijuana, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," which had
been commissioned by drug czar Barry McCaffrey in January 1997.

The report found "substantial consensus'' to indicate that, for some people,
the potential medical benefits of marijuana outweigh its risks. It also
concluded marijuana was not a "gateway'' to the use of harder drugs, and
that there was no evidence to indicate that approved medical use of
marijuana would increase public abuse of the drug.

This report recognizes marijuana is a medicine and that smoking it works.
While federal authorities may feel that smoking is not the ideal way to
administer this medicine, the suggestion that we continue current policies
of arresting sick people for using marijuana while a supposedly safer method
of delivery is developed ignores the reality of those in desperate need

To use this report as an attempt to evade its conclusions by calling for
more research, while continuing policies that arrest and jail the sick and
dying is an outrage. Smoked marijuana's efficacy has been long established.

If relief can be obtained now through smoked marijuana, and it can, then
medical use should be allowed immediately.

Gary Storck Madison

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