War on Drugs Picks Wrong Target in Marijuana

August 9, 2009 – The Obama-appointed “drug czar” Gil Kerlikowske, a former Seattle police chief said, “Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit.” His July 22 press prohibitionconference was reported in the Fresno ( Calif. ) Bee.

This is a rather startling statement, given the fact that the Institute of Medicine, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine and many other medical organizations recognize marijuana’s medical value. Even President Obama’s own statements about marijuana’s medical efficacy run counter to Kerlikowske’s assertion.

In November 2004, 62 percent of Montana’s voters approved Montana’s medical-marijuana act. Montana was the 10th state to approve medical marijuana. As of July 21, 2,975 patients and 935 caregivers have signed up with the Department of Public Health and Human Services to obtain a medical marijuana card, and 204 physicians have given recommendations to patients.

A case study of an actual patient who used medical marijuana will be instructive: The patient suffered an industrial accident four years ago that injured three lumbar vertebrae. Until beginning the use of medical marijuana six months ago, the patient had lost 10 pounds and was largely confined to the house. Upon beginning use of marijuana, the patient was able to discontinue Neurontin ( for nerve pain ), Flexeril ( for muscle spasm ), Restoril and Phenergan ( for sleep ), lorazepam ( for anxiety ) and Percocet ( for break-through pain ). Use of Oxycontin has been cut in half, and increased appetite has made possible the gaining back of her lost weight. The patient has been able to resume a more normal life although isn’t able as yet to go back to work.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of the effectiveness of medical marijuana as in that case, the U.S. government – mainly through the National Institute on Drug Abuse – has routinely blocked and discouraged any scientific inquiry into the medical effectiveness of marijuana. Alan Leshner, Ph.D., has been the head of the Institute since 1995. Portions of a letter to him from Donald I. Abrams, M.D., professor of clinical medicine at University of California-San Francisco may be instructive regarding the attitude of NIDA.

“I was not only disappointed by the flat-out rejection of the request, but also by the way this matter has been handled by your institute. .. To receive the first communication from your office nine months after we sent the initial submission is offensive and insulting. … Obviously, your letter leaves no door open for further discussion as to how this pilot study could be modified. In the words of the AIDS activist community: SHAME!”

In the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president, Walter Cronkite stated, “Just about every American was shocked when Robert McNamara acknowledged that the war in Vietnam was ‘wrong, terribly wrong.’ That’s a mistake we must not make in this 10th year of America’s all-out war on drugs.” Nineteen years later, we are still involved in this needless, damaging and futile policy of drug prohibition.

Ultimately, legalization of marijuana needs to happen. As spokespersons for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition affirm, “Nothing which is illegal can be controlled.” Source.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *