Founder Says Medicinal Benefits Of Marijuana Warrant Its Legalization.

In protest of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's campaign to make
all hemp food products illegal, Wennifer Lin Curry brought her dream of a
pro-marijuana club to Bruin Walk Tuesday, starting with a poster display
and books about marijuana.

The club, Cannabis University, is Lin Curry's contribution to a nationwide
protest of the DEA's actions since the Sept. 11 attacks. On Oct. 9, the DEA
illegalized hemp -- the stalks and sterilized seeds of cannabis plants --
that contains tetrahydrocannabinols, the substance that creates a high.

The DEA is disproportionately focused on its campaign to eliminate hemp
products, while the nation is in the midst of a crisis, Lin Curry said.

"The war on drugs should not be lumped in with the war on terrorism," the
folk medicine doctoral student said.

Like terrorists, drug users are "targeted without a premise," she said.
Both are viewed as an "ambiguous, nebulous (group) targeted as some evil
source," she said.

Marijuana is not physically addictive, Lin Curry said, adding that there
are medical studies that prove it is harmlessness.

"It doesn't cause people to be violent," she said, comparing it to alcohol.

As a Schedule I drug, marijuana is prohibited because it "has no acceptable
medical use and a high abuse rate." The DEA illegalized hemp on the basis
that it contains THC like its cannabis counterpart.

"Marijuana is still a Schedule I narcotic, just like heroin or ecstasy,"
said Jose Martinez, public information officer for the Los Angeles field
division of the DEA, "It is a substance that has no medicinal use in the U.S."

The question of legalization of marijuana has been one of considerable
debate since the 1930s.

According to Encyclopedia.com, the drug was recorded in Chinese medical
books as early as 2737 B.C. and made its way to Europe as early as A.D.
500. Marijuana was a major crop in colonial North America and was included
in the "United States Pharmacopeia" from 1850 to 1942.

The drug was prescribed for conditions ranging from labor pains to rheumatism.

The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, or proposition 215, made marijuana use
legal for patients with diseases such as epilepsy, cancer and glaucoma.

During her second pregnancy, Lin Curry was diagnosed with hyperemesis
gravidarium, a condition which made her extremely weak and sick during her
second pregnancy. The marijuana she took for the pain and morning sickness
was the only thing that helped her, she said.

Marijuana is an extremely important medicine for women, especially
Taiwanese and Chinese women like herself, Lin Curry said. She said it is
part of their cultural heritage, and it is tragic that other women have a
"cultural and medical amnesia" about the benefits of an herb critical to
the origin of the civilization.

After establishing their Monterey Bay-based Cannabis Co-op, an organization
which helped administer marijuana to those in need, the Curry's moved to
Los Angeles to preserve the legal use of marijuana as a pain reliever.

"It's important that it stays a folk remedy," said Robert Curry, the father
of her two children.


Newshawk: http://www.cannabisnews.com/
Pubdate: Thu, 06 Dec 2001
Source: Daily Bruin (CA Edu)
Copyright: 2001, ASUCLA Student Media
Contact: viewpoint@media.ucla.edu
Website: http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/724