Anne McLellan's Reversal on Support for Medicinal Marijuana Should Make
Canadians Sick

Recently I went in hospital for a test that required injecting me with a
radioactive drug. I told them, as I always do, that drugs invariably hit me
harder than most people, and they nodded and shot me up with the standard
dose, as always, and I vomited nonstop for the next eight hours. One of
these days I'll write a column exploring why donning a white uniform
induces deafness -- but not today.

This column's about what they did for my nausea that day -- which was
nothing. They shot me up with four successive drugs, starting with Gravol
(a standard dose) and working up to the mightiest antinausea drug in the
pharmacopoeia, without effect. I retched continuously until it was simply
not possible for my stomach to clench any more; then, thank God, I was able
to persuade them to stop helping me, and let me go. My problem soon
vanished. The impulse to vomit uncontrollably only returned today, when I
sniffed the latest mound of media manure from Health Minister Anne McLellan.

There's a memorable moment in Casablanca when Claude Rains, as Captain
Reynaud, calls down a raid on Rick's Place, announcing, "I'm shocked --
shocked! -- to find that gambling is going on here." What makes the line
immortal is that, as it leaves his lips, he's accepting his winnings.
Total, bald hypocrisy, naked as a kick in the groin.

In that precise spirit, I'm shocked -- shocked! -- to discover that Ms.
McLellan is a typical contemporary Canadian politician. That is, a protean
pile of adjustable principles prepared to call excrement strawberry jam, if
the alternative is to risk offending a trigger-happy Texan.

Her bashful confession that the Manitoba Marijuana Mine she's been
overseeing in Flim Flam . . . excuse me, Flin Flon, has really been a
$6-million dribble-glass joke, and the recent police persecutions of
Compassion Clubs in Ontario, demonstrate that her government has sold out
every suffering citizen who believed they could look to it for relief from
nausea, pain, or other debilitating symptoms.

If you believed two years of promises that medical marijuana would soon be
made available to sick people who need it desperately . . . what have you
been smoking? The cowboy bootlickers we allow to pick our pockets have
already made it clear they feel little obligation to provide more than
Third World medical care for any of us, so why would they make an exception
for troublemakers antisocial enough to acquire diseases that require Ottawa
to grow a conscience?

What they meant by the best possible medicine was, the best medicine Dubya
says we can have.

You'll also be stunned to learn Ms. McLellan's been able to find a few
doctors either shameless enough to pretend to believe, or perhaps dimwitted
enough to actually believe, her "further clinical trials are needed"
nonsense -- just as if marijuana's safety and efficacy have not been known
for over a century, established repeatedly in every reputable study from
the LaGuardia commission in the United States and the LeDain report in
Canada to the most recent reports on the subject from World Health
Organization or Harvard.

Dr. Raju Hajela of Kingston, for instance, told The Globe and Mail "a
single joint is as harmful as 10 cigarettes," which is preposterous.
Fortunately, for anyone with interest, Internet access can find the true
facts effortlessly, as former health minister Allan Rock did. (Try it
yourself -- please!)

The Globe has also reported on Alison Myrden of Burlington, Ont., one of
806 registered sufferers who've been jerked around by their alleged
representatives for the last two years. She now knows "bureaucratic
compassion" is an oxymoron, like "ministerial honour." For the rest of her
life, according to Dr. Hajela and Ms. McLellan, she'll be much healthier
downing 32 pills and 600 milligrams of morphine a day for her MS than she
would have been if she'd been able to use a few natural flowers without
fear of arrest.

There was a time when this country had the guts to tell America to go to
hell when it was dead wrong. Back in the 1960s, we were led by a man who
actually had the stones to tell the United States that any of its children
who had a problem with being forced to murder strangers in Asia were
welcome here. Canada gained immeasurably thereby: in prestige, in pride,
and in immigrants who've made a powerful positive contribution ever since.

Today America tolerates, like a cancer on its heart, a cult of armed
hypocrites who pretend to believe marijuana is a dangerous drug like
heroin, PCP or crack, and who on the basis of that outrageous lie have
imprisoned not tens, but hundreds of thousands of decent people for
possession of a plant that causes laughter . . . and incidentally assured
themselves steady income and low-risk thrills. In God's name, why are we
enabling these foreign parasites -- at the cost of torturing our own
citizens? Why not align ourselves with societies with rational marijuana
policies, such as the Netherlands, England, or Portugal?

How long will we go on like this, spending money we can't afford to pay
armed bullies to persecute our own young people for giggling too much, and
our infirm and elderly for seeking relief from chronic misery? It's not the
money I mind so much -- it's the minutes. Horrid minutes of churning
awfulness, that will seem to last a million years each, to every poor
nauseous patient who has to rely on the current government for compassion.
Every day that it remains illegal here to supply pot to sick people legally
entitled to smoke it, this nation is in disgrace.

There's nothing nobler than alleviating suffering. And nothing wickeder
than failing to, out of cowardice or ignorance or expediency.

Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Page: A13
Copyright: 2002, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Spider Robinson
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)