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News (Media Awareness Project) - LTE: Everett Herald
Title:LTE: Everett Herald
Published On:1997-03-10
Fetched On:2008-09-08 21:19:42

Let States Decide

The government is not always right, nor do they always have our
best interests in mind, i.e. the medical use of marijuana. The citizens
of two states voted to allow the medical use of marijuana and the
government promptly said they would continue to enforce the federal laws
prohibiting the use, possession or cultivation of marijuana. And
marijuana would continue to be a Class 1 drug, right up there with LSD
and heroin, under the Federal Narcotics Act.
The reasons for keeping marijuana illegal and in the class 1
narcotic schedule have nothing to do with what is in our (the country's)
best interests. There is money to be made (a lot of it) by seizing
property belonging to people cultivating marijuana crops. Millions of
dollars are being spent to hire an "army" to enforce the laws with no
discernible effect. The pulp and paper industry has a large financial
interest in not allowing the cultivation of the hemp plant for rope,
paper, clothing, etc., a very environmentally sustainable, renewable
Has the government looked into why there are millions of
Americans who have smoked marijuana in the past, millions who currently smoke
marijuana and millions who will continue to do so in the future?
The majority of these marijuana users have jobs, many are college
graduates, pay taxes, vote, in other words, lawabiding (except for
breaking the irrational marijuana laws) citizens. "Drug use" does not
automatically equate to "drug abuse." The greater danger in marijuana is
not in the use of it but the illegality of it. It is not proven that marijuana
is a "gateway" drug. (That has also been said of alcohol and tobacco.) Perhaps
it is the fact that buying marijuana may put you into
contact with persons who have access to more harmful drugs that leads
some people (certainly not the majority of the marijuana users) to go on
to try something more harmful. Or perhaps some young people, after having been
lied to about marijuana's dangers, try more dangerous drugs with the rationale
that they have been lied to about those also.
I want to applaud the recent editorial in the New England Journal of
Medicine regarding a physician's right to make a decision about the treatment
of his or her patient, treatment that may include the use of
marijuana. The editorinchief went on to say that physicians have been
trusted with far more dangerous drugs than marijuana, i.e.
chemotherapeutic agents, and should have the right to make those
decisions. The government has perpetuated these drug policies for over 60
years policies that in the '90s now seem even more repressive and
uncompassionate than ever before; policies based on greed, politics, and
unfounded fears. It's time for enactment of sane, sensible drug laws
regarding marijuana.

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