In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 9, 2005 / 2 Sivan, 5765

Hard on drugs, soft on suffering

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Someday, Washington will catch up with the 72 percent of Americans over 45 who believe adults should be able to use medical marijuana if a physician recommends it, according to a 2004 poll by the AARP. First, however, voters are going to have to make some noise.

Or as Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in this week's Supreme Court ruling that upheld the federal government's authority to prosecute medical-marijuana users, despite California's and 10 other states' medical marijuana laws, "the voices of voters allied with these respondents may one day be heard in the halls of Congress." Too bad, the drug-war hawks have Washington spooked. Lawmakers don't want to appear soft on drugs, so they are afraid to call an end to prosecuting people in pain.

That's why marijuana is a "Schedule I" drug in the federal lexicon, which puts the drug in the same legal classification as heroin. Less dangerous drugs — like cocaine and morphine — fall under Schedule II and are available for medical use. But not marijuana.

That's because there is no recognized medical use for marijuana, according to the American Medical Association, the drug warriors respond.

Fair enough. But the California Medical Association supports medical marijuana. Chief Executive Jack Lewin, a physician, explained that his group believes the government should listen to doctors who recommend the drug. What's more, in passing Proposition 215 in 1996, state voters have spoken, and from what Lewin has seen, "it's not doing a whole lot of harm."

Many California doctors recommend the drug because they've seen salutary results with marijuana not found with its legal pill-form equivalent, Marinol. For some reason, Marinol doesn't take with many patients, who find relief by smoking, drinking or eating marijuana. Marijuana, they say, relieves their nausea, mitigates the ravages of some diseases and increases appetites depressed by chemotherapy.

Doctors have risked their careers recommending an illegal drug. They don't need a study when they can look at the faces of afflicted people who finally have found something that works for them. And many users note that medical marijuana relieves their nausea without drugging them into oblivion.

Sure, some medical-marijuana boosters may be looking for an excuse to smoke pot. Two years ago, I went to a Santa Cruz, Calif., event where a young man told me he took medical marijuana for an injured knee.

Yeah, right.

At the same event, however, I saw 93-year-old Dorothy Gibbs, who suffered from post-polio syndrome. She found that marijuana eased her severe nausea. As a member of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical marijuana, Gibbs joined a different lawsuit against federal prosecutions, after the Drug Enforcement Administration raided WAMM and seized 167 marijuana plants.

Gibbs is now dead, WAMM founder Valerie Corral told me on the phone yesterday. In the six months after the raid, 13 WAMM members died — almost 10 percent of WAMM's members. This is a group of seriously ill people — and the kid with the bad knee was not one of them.

Corral, an epileptic, believes she suffers fewer seizures because of medical marijuana. She used to take more powerful pharmaceutical drugs that "made me feel as if I was underwater. " With marijuana, she said, she is more functional.

Back to Congress. Ten states have legalized medical marijuana. Republicans who believe in states' rights should support these states, but in 2004, only 19 Republicans voted for a measure offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., that would have blocked federal enforcement for users of medical marijuana in states that have legalized its use.

It failed 268 to 148.

Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., voted for such a measure in 2003, but backed off in 2004. Locally, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., voted "no" last year.

"We've got 70 percent of the Democrats," said Bill Piper, of the anti-drug-war Drug Policy Alliance. Most, but not all.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif., is one of two California House Democrats, as Piper put it, "voting against their own state."

Donate to JWR

I got no answer from the staff of Pombo or Cardoza as to how either of them plan to vote on this year's Hinchey-Rohrabacher bill. Which means, perhaps, they could be swayed by input from constituents.

The White House drug czar John Walters has been a strong opponent of medical marijuana. As he sees it, pot-heads are using sick people to push marijuana.

I am sure he is right. And I don't care.

This year, I watched a friend die who lived longer, I believe, because she could drink a tea that revived her appetite, mitigated her need for other pain control and probably bought her a few extra weeks with her children. Marinol didn't help her. Marijuana did.

So I'll quote what Dr. Marcus Conant once said to me. Conant is the doctor who identified the first cases of Kaposi's sarcoma among San Francisco AIDS patients. He also successfully sued to stop the federal government from acting against doctors who recommend medical marijuana.

Conant explained: "To deny sick people relief because of abuse is not humane."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.

Debra J. Saunders Archives

© 2005, Creators Syndicate