Wednesday was unofficially pronounced Pot Day at NT, according to James
Quinn of the of rehab, social work and addictions department.

Quinn was referring to three speakers who came to the campus Wednesday, to
speak on the problems and benefits of legalizing marijuana and other
narcotics for medical and recreational purposes.

Christopher Largen, NT alumnus, and George McMahon, one of seven U.S.
citizens who has been given permission from the federal government to smoke
marijuana for medicinal reasons, spoke Wednesday afternoon in the Golden
Eagle Suite in the University Union.

Largen and McMahon co-authored the book Prescription Pot: One Man's Heroic
Battle to Legalize Medical Marijuana, which details McMahon's struggle to
gain legal use of the drug to fight a debilitating genetic disorder he
suffers from called Nail- Patella Syndrome.

Quinn stated at the beginning of the lecture that neither he nor Largen and
McMahon were promoting the recreational use of marijuana.

He added they would not speak on the reasons why opponents to legalized
marijuana have said the drug should remain illegal either.

Quinn cited two recent studies conducted by the National Institute of Health
and the Institute of Medicine, which Quinn said produced promising results
that marijuana improved the appetites of AIDS patients and others who suffer
wasting syndrome; he said it also improved neurological and movement
disorders, chronic pain and Glaucoma.

Quinn also said some of the universal side effects of marijuana use include
increased appetite, dry mouth, impaired memory, increased heart rate, slowed
reaction time, sedation and feelings of bliss.

Largen agreed with Quinn's findings, and reiterated much of the information
Quinn had spoken on previously. Largen, who said he realized the positive
affects of marijuana use in those who suffer after he saw the benefits
first-hand while working with a quadriplegic at NT, explained that he
subsequently agreed to help McMahon write a book that detailed reasons for
medical marijuana use.

McMahon said his physical problems began during his young adult life, and
after taking prescription pill after prescription pill, he said he found
himself close to death.

He said that during his recovery from kidney surgery his appetite plummeted.
McMahon said he was hours away from death when another patient in the same
hospital offered him a marijuana cigarette, which after smoking made him
feel hungry and caused him to want to eat all night.

McMahon said that getting legal marijuana has posed numerous problems
including his being followed by two FBI agents on a fishing trip to Canada
and his difficulty in bringing his medication with him when he travels out
of the country.

Largen, McMahon and Quinn answered questions from audience members,
discussing the affects of marijuana on epilepsy, diabetes and cancer.

Howard Wooldridge, former police officer and detective in Michigan and Texas
also spoke on Wednesday night about legalizing drugs. Wooldridge, wearing a
T-shirt that read Cops Say Legalize Pot ... Ask Me Why, explained that for
the past 30 years, the war on drugs has proved to be ineffective. He said
that the only effective way to fight high crime rates, high murder rates and
drug use is to end the prohibition of drugs.

Prohibition is the engine that has driven our crime stats through the roof,
Wooldridge said.

Wooldridge said that law enforcement wastes million sof hours each year
looking under the front seat [of vehicles] for marijuana instead of
arresting drunk drivers. He said that in his entire career in law
enforcement, he never came across an incident where someone was killed
because of direct effects of marijuana.

Pubdate: Thu, 23 Oct 2003
Source: North Texas Daily (TX Edu)
Copyright: 2003 North Texas Daily