The Pot Problem
Re: "Medical Marijuana Is Already Legal in Illinois: And it has been for three decades. But it'll take the passage of another law to make it available to patients," by Claire Thompson, April 8
In 1978 there was no Department of Human Services (thank the Lord). The state agency responsible for approving cannabis research and use for medical purposes was the Illinois Dangerous Drugs Commission. As the director of that agency, I was under constant pressure from state senator John Grotberg, who himself later died of cancer, to get something going for chemotherapy patients to relieve the side effects of treatment.
During our appropriations hearings, Senator Grotberg held the agency's budget captive, going over all travel expenses for the year trying (unsuccessfully) to find some unnecessary or extravagant spending. (This caused the Committee Chairman to joke, "What? Another fun-filled weekend in Des Moines?") Finally I was able to get the necessary federal agencies to not only approve a research project, but to provide the marijuana. I flew to Washington and picked up a silver canister labeled "400 Marijuana Cigarettes/U.S. Gov't. Approved." I took the can of weed to Springfield and showed it to the senator, who then allowed our budget to pass out of committee.
Later reports from the researchers indicated that the government-approved smokes were very weak compared with street purchases. And so the story continues.
Thomas B. Kirkpatrick
In response to Dan Linn's comment regarding California bozos using medical marijuana for "headaches and hangnails," the only bozos are the politicians more loyal to saving their own asses and the paternalistic system they're seated in than to the individuals they're supposed to represent. And these individuals want to get lifted. Sick or not, otherwise law-abiding Americans should have that freedom without being classified as a criminal. John Locke's On Liberty outlines the harm principle stating that freedoms must not be restricted if they are not harming another. The patriotic thing to do is to go the way of sane policymaking like that of Prague and decriminalize.
Alcohol is a poison and responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year. Nicotine is a dangerous stimulant and its main delivery method kills half a million Americans every year. Both are sold on nearly every street corner in America. But a plant with no known lethal dose and in recent studies has shown promise to prevent cancer and hold off Alzheimer's is illegal? It's just ridiculous.
We should stop kidding ourselves and just make the stuff legal and ban tobacco.
Thank you for including law enforcement's monetary interest in continuing the drug war. So often this fact is left out when raising law enforcement's concerns regarding relaxed cannabis laws. This is an important caveat when considering what weight to give to their opinion. Currently, it seems that most legislators forget this conflict of interest and give law enforcement concerns way too much sway in the argument.
Additionally, considering how few plants the current law would allow a patient to cultivate, how much extra medicine can they really expect a patient to sell off? The plants take months to mature and would make it difficult for a patient that truly needs the cannabis to have much excess product after accounting for the time it would take to grow another batch of medicine. As for the possibility of current drug dealers simply getting permission to grow to legally supply their dealing operation, that sounds like an exaggerated concern that could be overcome through proper diagnosis criteria and monitoring of doctor practices by licensing boards.
What everyone seems to be missing here is that we are allowing legislators to VOTE on what is medicine. Every other medicine in this country has gone through the FDA approval process. Why not this one? Hmmmm . . . let's think about that people! It's because it's a foot in the door to complete legalization of marijuana. There is so much misinformation out there (marijuana not addictive, are you kidding? It is PROVEN that it is addictive. It's a FACT.) But people are buying into this stuff while the pot smokers laugh all the way at how everyone is falling for their scam.
As citizens we should be demanding that they get marijuana through the FDA research and approval process. Then all of these arguments will be a moot point and we won't be thumbing our noses at a well-established MEDICAL process with a LEGISLATIVE process driven by public perception.
Re: Gossip Wolf, April 8
Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi "tells Gossip Wolf the label has several choice projects coming down the pike before fall, including long players from locals Cacaw, Black Math, and Brian Idea."
The correct name of the band is Brain Idea. Thank you for the mention but would you please issue a correction of the name?
Thank you very much.
Miriam B. Scott
More on the R Word
Re: "Human Care Bears: Rahm Emanuel's 'retarded' outburst made good headlines, but the way some advocates portray the mentally disabled is far more offensive," by David Wilcox, February 25
Well done, David Wilcox. I have an older brother with Down syndrome and have had many similar experiences. You addressed this issue thoughtfully and with good humor, and I'm especially grateful for the Care Bears analogy. Well-meaning individuals may not see that treating people with disabilities as precious or unconditionally caring is also demeaning (or talking to them in baby talk, or assuming all they want to do is give hugs, &c.) These individuals may not realize that treating disabled people with dignity begins, of course, by treating them as people.
PS: My brother always wanted to get his driver's license and that episode of Life Goes On (where Corky wrecks the car) served as a sort of reality check for him, though it also gave him the opportunity to feel solidarity w/ Corky.