Jan.18, 00
Fredrick News-Post
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Roy Meachum's column on Jan. 10, ''Over my head,'' illuminates the Clinton administration's latest misstep in its war on marijuana-using patients.
Mr. Meachum wrote that the White House telephoned Maryland Delegate Don Murphy (R - Catonsville) to ask him not to introduce his medical marijuana bill. Delegate Murphy should be congratulated for ''just saying no'' to the White House.
For years, we at the Marijuana Policy Project have been working to remove criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana. The biggest hurdle has been White House Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey.
In 1996, Mr. McCaffrey waged a massive public relations campaign against medical marijuana initiatives in California and Arizona. On Aug. 16, 1996, McCaffrey was quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle as saying, ''There is not a shred of scientific evidence that shows that smoked marijuana is useful or needed.''
Fortunately, the voters knew better and passed the initiatives. In March 1999, the prestigious Institute of Medicine released its landmark report on medical marijuana, concluding that ''there are some limited circumstances in which we recommend smoking marijuana for medical uses.''
But Mr. McCaffrey won't let the truth get in the way of his crusade, as his office continues to campaign against bills and initiatives in the states. On Dec. 15, 1999, Reuters reported that he vowed, ''Smoked marijuana will never be medicine.'' The only way to protect Maryland patients from Mr. McCaffrey's war is to pass Delegate Murphy's bill before the legislature adjourns for the year in May.
ROBERT D. KAMPIA Executive Director Marijuana Policy Project Washington, D.C. Published: January 18, 2000 Copyright 1997-00 Great Southern Printing and Manufacturing Company