Friday, January 13, 2006

Letter to Eagle-Tribune

Regarding "Pot Bill Still Needs Careful Review"...

Eagle-Tribune editors claim that federal law outlaws the use of marijuana "for any purpose". However, the Controlled Substances Act contains an exemption for federal research, and for the past three decades the National Institute on Drug Abuse has cultivated and distributed therapeutic cannabis to patients with widely varying symptoms, including bone tumors, pain, spasms, nausea, and ocular pressure. Private research on these federal patients has demonstrated that smoked marijuana can provide significant symptomatic relief, without the strong toxic side effects associated with pharmaceutical alternatives.

District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett expresses concern that marijuana is a "gateway drug". However, marijuana is not scientifically classified as a drug, but a flowering herb. And the federally-commissioned Institute of Medicine study effectively debunked the gateway theory, indicating the only gateway was socioeconomic, not physiological. In other words, because marijuana consumers purchase their goods on the black market, through unregulated street dealers who are often pushing more dangerous and addictive substances, the gateway is an unintentional by-product of the prohibition policies themselves. It appears that fighting fire with gasoline is a lost cause.

There will undoubtedly be reationary resistance to therapeutic cannabis use in Massachusetts, largely based on ignorance of scientific facts. But ask yourself two questions... If someone you care about gets sick and could benefit from cannabis, would you rather they obtain it through a doctor's recommendation or through a mobster's network? Would you really want your loved one thrown in jail?

Your Iconoclast,

Christopher Largen


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