The history of U.S. policy toward mind-altering substances has followed cycles of tolerance and intolerance ever since the mid-19th century. Walking into a smoked filled room, of young and old engaged in therapeutic activities for numerous health conditions, has been practice worldwide. In fact, the medical use of the cannabis plant goes back at least 5,000 years to ancient China. It was used by most of the world's cultures for its healing properties (Medical Marijuana Cases 1). Today such conditions as Migraine headaches, Glaucoma, Cancer, Epilepsy, Asthma AIDS/HIV, Spinal injury, Muscle spasms, Insomnia etc., could be treated for symptomatic relief with cannabis or cannabis extract. However, marijuana is still considered an illegal drug in most states in the United States.
Marijuana usage may have been common 20-30 years ago, but it really isn't any longer. Judy Foreman states that a hardy band of activists seeking legislative approval of perennial bill that would bring Massachusetts in line with 34 other states in letting patients with certain conditions smoke marijuana (1). 2 What was known, as the "wicked weed" of the sixties can be good medicine . Marijuana certainly seems safer than may other drugs, even aspirin that causes gastrointestinal bleeding, killing hundreds of people every year (Grinspoon/Bakalar 4).3 There are lots of drugs American society does not let people use except under doctor's care, for instance, cocaine, Demerol, est. No one Rivera 2
thinks we have legalized cocaine because we let surgeon or anesthesiologists use it. Therefore, the notion that there is a link between medical use and whether people should to be able to legally get stoned is nonsense. One situation does not necessarily include the other. Nevertheless, there has not been a single death by overdose (Foreman 4).2 As an enlightened society, we must reconsider the legalization of marijuana for medical use only as it eases pain and suffering of many illnesses.
To effect changing the attitudes within our society about marijuana, one must be realistic about the legislation of our own bodies. Right now cocaine and morphine are prescribed legally as medicines, and those legal uses are not adding in any significant way to the country drug problem. While experts debate the medical use of marijuana, patients in Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Alameda County are lining up at Cannabis Buyers' Club to receive the drug. Despite the coffee house atmosphere at the Cannabis Buyers' Club marijuana remains illegal. Although some chronically ill people and their physicians argue that the drug eases their pain and suffering, the question still is fiercely debated by law enforcement and the medical community (Donnelly 1-2).4 Modeled after underground pharmacies that provide AIDS patients with unapproved drugs, Buyer's Clubs have existed informally for at least 15 years. Nevertheless, whether there's a medical need still is debatable. On the other hand, officials at the U.S. Drugs Enforcement Administration insist there are few, if any therapeutic uses of marijuana. In fact, they point out smoking harms the lungs (Donnelly 3).4 The American Medical Association does not condone the
use of marijuana, although it does support further stating that under the direction of a doctor may be appropriate for certain conditions (Donnelly 3).4 The media address the subject in a language that precludes rational debate: Crime related to drugs prohibition is systematically described as "drug related". Furthermore, most people seem to be deeply religiously committed to a medicalized view of life. Many take seriously the proposition that just into his head, it is also not its business what substance he puts into this body.
In a free society the government's duty is to protect individuals from others who might harm them. In 1980, there were almost twice as may violent...
Cited: 1. Mikki, Norris, and Chris Conrad. Medical Marijuana Cases. N.p.: Inernet mario lap, 1996.
2. Foreman, Judy. "Medical Marijuana (Acure or Curse)." Boston Globe [Boston, Mass.] 7 Oct. 1991: 25-26
5. Schlosser, Eric. "More Reefer Madness." Atlantic Apr. 1997: 90-102
7. "Marijuana as Medicine." Editorial San Francisco Chronicle 31 Jan. 1997: A24.
8. Morganthau, Tom. "The War Over Weed." Newsweek 3 Feb. 1997: 20+.
9. "Don 't Jail Medicinal Marijuana Patients". Online NORML Internet. 21 Nov. 1996.
11. Postrel, Virginia I. "Reefer Madness." Washington Post 3 Mar. 1997: 4.
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