The federal government should allow marijuana to be distributed by
prescription to the ill just like codeine, morphine or other medicines.

Let's cut through the rhetoric surrounding the debate over whether the push
to legalize marijuana for medical purposes is simply a ploy to make
marijuana legal and readily available.

It is not.

The use of marijuana, like other mind-altering drugs, creates myriad
problems in society. The federal government, as well as state and local
law-enforcement agencies, must continue to take action to stop the illegal
distribution and use of marijuana.

But we strongly believe, as do the voters of Washington, Oregon and seven
other states, that marijuana should be legal for legitimate medical
purposes. There is clear evidence marijuana has medical benefits for many
diseases, including helping cancer patients.

The public simply wants patients who can benefit to have access to medicine
that can improve their quality of life.

Yet, the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress do not. The federal
government has taken a series of steps to force states to abandon their
medical marijuana laws.

The latest came last week as Republicans set in motion a plan to punish
states where marijuana for medical use is legal. Under the proposal, the
federal money now passed down to state and local police officers to fight
illegal drug use would be given to federal agents in those states.

That will significantly hurt the nation's collective war on illegal drugs.

The State Patrol and local police departments and sheriff's offices are in a
far better position than federal authorities to shut down drug-making and
drug-selling operations. Those officers are constantly on the street in
small communities and big cities. They are on the front lines.

Let's face it, DEA agents aren't going to spend a lot of their time - even
if they have our money - focusing on drug problems in the Walla Walla

Instead of wasting time, money and energy trying to circumvent state efforts
to supply marijuana for medical reasons, the federal government should be
aiding the effort to curb abuses of marijuana and other drugs - including
prescription drugs.

The federal government should allow marijuana to be distributed by
prescription just like codeine, morphine or other medicines. It's not only a
simple solution, it's the right solution.

Pubdate: Tue, 27 May 2003
Source: Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (WA)
Copyright: 2003 Walla Walla Union-Bulletin