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Legalizing Marijuana To Benefit Society:an Idea Whose Time Has Come

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Californians and citizens of eight other states in the federal union have
made a criminal distinction between people who smoke cannabis as a
physician recommended remedy and recreational users who just enjoy the
effects of cannabis. The federal government and its drug enforcement
agencies claim there is no distinction in federal law.

The DEA and the Justice Department are just as willing to arrest and jail
the sick and dying for using pot to alleviate their pain and suffering as
they are healthy tokers who only use it to relax and have fun. Growers and
sellers of the herb no matter what their state of health are lumped in with
murderers and rapists. They often are punished more harshly with longer
prison terms.

Smoke 300 Joints A Month Or Else

There is a small group of individuals however who have been granted access
to federally grown medical marijuana. They can legally travel with and
publicly smoke US government issued cannabis.

The feds would prefer to keep these people hidden away in their sick rooms
until they die an unpublicized death. They are members of the Food and Drug
Association's Compassionate Investigational New Drug program.

This is one of the most exclusive groups in the country because you had to
be nearly dying to get in. Even then patients had to jump through an
agonizing series of bureaucratic hoops. Only 15 extremely ill patients with
conditions unabated by all other legal pharmaceutical drugs managed to get
into the IND program during the dozen years it accepted applicants. In 1992
the first Bush administration, which made no pretense to be "compassionate
conservatives," slammed the door shut on all other applicants including 35
who had been already approved.

Only a handful of the original 15 are still alive and they are still alive
because of medical marijuana. As long as they live the federal government
is legally obligated to send them 300 joints of Missisippi "Muddy Waters"
marijuana a month.

George McMahon is one of those patients still alive, born with Nail Patella
Syndrome a rare genetic disorder that has been like a life long torture
chamber for him. Cannabis literally saved his life by easing his severe
pain, cramps and nausea.

With the help of writer Christopher Largen, he's written and published his
inspiring tale of how he became a federally sanctioned medical marijuana
recipient in the IND program. More importantly his book, "Prescription
Pot: A leading advocate's heroic battle to legalize medical marijuana" (New
Horizon Press, 2003). is a warrior's tale of a man who rose from his death
bed with marijuana, battled to gain his legal right to his medicine and is
still fighting to change laws for millions of other patients.

He tells his story in a compelling and straightforward voice that lays
bare the official hyprocrisy around medical marijuana. The book contains
several appendixes including an official report on the effects on health of
Chronic Cannabis Use in the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program
by seven researchers. Their conclusion was that cannabis smoking provided
effective relief of pain, muscle spasms and glaucoma in these patients
without causing malignancies, neurological deterioration, immune system
weakening with only mild pulmonary risk. These were patients smoking up to
300 joints a month of low grade, poorly cured, harsh smoking dirt weed
grown in Missisippi behind barbed wire. They are even required to smoke it
as joints, no water pipes, vaporizers or eating it. The pot they are sent
is only slightly better quality than Government Cheese, yet it kept these
sick people alive. The researchers even found that the patients were able
to reduce or eliminate other prescription pharmaceuticals with their toxic
side effects. One of the real reasons feds opppose states' rights on
medical marijuana.

Miracles With Marijuana Medicine

There are many comprehensive books that provide evidence for legalizing
marijuana as a prescription medication. Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar
have written the classic, "Marijuana: the Forbidden Medicine" (Yale
University Press, 1997). It details the extensive scientific research and
patient testimonies for dozens of medical conditions that have been
effectively treated with cannabis.

Ethan Russo, M.D, one of the researchers on the health of patients in the
Investigational Drug Program presented a policy paper on Cannabis and Pain
Management in Cannabis Health to the American Academy of Pain Management
this year. Since half of all Americans say they suffer from chronic pain
any remedy would be enormously beneficial to society. Unless it is cannabis
the feds say. Marijuana has been shown to be helpful in relieving
neuropathic pain, inflammatory conditions, muscle spasms, nausea,
depression and anxiety while stimulating appetite.

Russo's policy paper gives a historical overview of cannabis use for pain
management, then destroys the feds official arguments for opposing medical
marijuana. He points out that higher potency pot reduces the amount needed
to smoke for equivalent effects thus reducing lung problems.

The synthetic THC preparations Marinol and Dronabinol, which are loosely
restricted Schedule III drugs are not as effective as smoked cannabis, a
banned Schedule I drug. The more potent pills have worse side effects and
are more expensive even than black market marijuana, while government grown
medical marijuana costs only a dime a joint to grow and roll.

The Injustice Department

It's pretty obvious that Ashcroft's assaults on sick people to prevent them
from gaining some relief from their suffering with medical marijuana is
only done to stall the movement to legalizing cannabis entirely. The tax
potential alone for varietal cannabis grown and legally sold will beckon to
deficit ridden states as a way to stave off higher motor vehicle taxes, a
political killer.

The war on Marijuana users is the cornerstone for the failed War on Drugs,
which is a supporting wall of the ever expanding security state. The War
on people who use illegal Drugs supports and is supported by prosecution
and defense lawyers, police unions, prison guard unions, along with the
agencies and black marketeers who thrive off it.

Many medical marijuana are even caught up in the propaganda and don't
approve of legalizing an herb for people who don't have a "medical
necessity." Those sick and injured citizens of 9 states and one closed
federal program who have gained some right to grow and smoke medical
marijuana were supported by millions of current and former recreational users.

Changes In Altitude, Changes In Attitude

Many of these users believe that getting high is the medicine for what ails
western "civilization" and their own state of mind. It relieves stress,
lowers blood pressure, and encourages a connection with the earth.

Recreational users of cannabis have survived and prospered despite a 70
year federal, state and local total war on them. They have created a
vibrant counterculture with clandestine networks in the face of despots
using Shock and Awe campaigns to beat them down. They have bent but not
broken under the overwhelming forces arrayed against them.

There are many entertaining novels and films that treat marijuana smokers
and growers with more amusement and less dogma than official propaganda.
They reach more people than well researched, documented treatises but focus
on the dazed and confused but harmless pothead stereotype. There's some
truth to that, but they usually ignore the creative impulses that flower
from re-creational use of cannabis.

I wish to praise the leaves of grass, especially the fragrant flowers.
Without weed we'd still be listening to oompapa bands, cheering two handed
set shots in basketball, there would be no personal computers,
environmental movement, organic farming, or health food superstores.

For all the creative juices the kind has stirred, it does seem to dope
most of it's users into complicity with the loss of their constitutional
rights. Many stoners won't even vote, "don't make no difference,
dude." Pot reduces your cares and worries for a while, so effectively that
the largest minority has not effectively fought to restore their rights.

Almost all illegal drug users in America are marijuana users, only a few
percent use other illegal drugs. These white powder drugs are unhealthy
and are made worse by their criminalization. Marijuana has been linked with
these other drugs with outright lies to hoodwink the voters, especially the
elderly who would most benefit from medical cannabis and do vote. The
actual "gateway" drug by the government's own surveys is tobacco, even for
pot smoking teens.

Pubdate: Wed, 01 Oct 2003
Source: Coastal Post, The (CA)
Copyright: 2003 The Coastal Post
Contact: editor@coastalpost.com
Website: Coastal Post January 2010