Monday, December 10, 2007

A question of political coursage: Medical Marijuana

A friend's father has stage 4 lung cancer metastisized into the lymph nodes--prognosis: several months. He can't tolerate visiting his son and daughter-in-law to play with his grandchildren because he can't get comfortable. It's not pain so much as discomfort (there is a difference), and the upset stomach he gets from traveling even short distances in a car.

Clinical studies suggest strongly that medical marijuana would relieve his worst symptoms, allowing him a few more precious weeks to watch Scoobie-Doo with his grand-daughters.

I suggested that he move out of state, maybe to Elkton, Maryland, a few miles from his current house.

Twelve states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, ,and Washington) have active medical marijuana programs.

Delaware doesn't. According to the Trust for American Health, nearly 4,200 of our citizens will come down with cancer next year, the nation's 11th highest rate. More than 1,700 Delawareans will die from it, says the National Cancer Institute, and many of your neighbors will suffer nausea, vomiting, headaches, and chronic muscle pain--just from their treatments.

Similar situations pertain to patients with AIDs and other chronic diseases.

Dozens of medical associations and respected research organizations across the country and the world support the use of medical marijuana, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Public Health Association, the Federation of American Scientists, the Lymphoma Foundation of America, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

In fact, it is difficult to find a legitimate medical organization that doesn't support medical marijuana.

Almost as difficult as it is to find citizens with the political courage to stand up and demand that their state legislators take responsible action since the Federal government won't (Bush or Clinton, it hasn't mattered).

I'd like to be able to say that we don't have medical marijuana legisltation in Delaware because our lawmakers are too busy featherbedding state employment rolls with their relatives, or because they're more closely focused on issue like keeping First State citizens from finding inexpensive medications on the internet (or mandating the use of bicycle helmets for those old enough to drive cars).

But the real reason is our own lack of moral courage.

One of the sites you can link to from this blog is Delaware Citizens in Favor of Medical Marijuana Legalization, where you can sign a petition in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

Only fourteen people (including me) have signed it. Four people felt obliged to remain anonymous, and at least one person appears to live in a Scandinavian country where they don't have capital letters. So let's call it NINE people in this state who thus far have found the personal and political courage to advocate for a cause espoused by the American Medical Association and lots of suffering, dying fellow citizens.

Maybe--I really hope this is true--the problem is that you just didn't know it was there. Could be. If so, we've cured that now. Wish we could cure cancer and AIDs that easily.

But now that you know, how about it? Today, before you leave this blog to see what somebody else has to say, take the requisite two minutes to sign the petition.

And have the courage, especially if you think of yourself as a Libertarian, to sign your name.


Duffy said...

I would love to meet the person who really and truly thinks that denying *any* drug to a terminally ill person is right, fair, moral, just or whatever.

Steve Newton said...

I've met them; well-meaning nanny staters who earnestly believe that even when you are dying they know better than you do.

Many of them, unfortunately, are physicians.

Waldo said...

Washington has a state marijuana law on the books written by a doctor who didn't think asking a lawyer about drafting pitfalls was necessary. We also have a US attorney in Western Washington (who succeeded John McKay, one of the administrations' eight targets in the big purge) who goes completely batshit over medical marijuana and can't wait to jail people about it. So technically we're on the bus, but mostly clinging, outside, to the bike rack.

vijayakumar said...

Ultimately, the politicians who have demonstrated such hostility toward the historical and
scientific record of marijuana as a medicine will go down as some of American
history's biggest dunces and/or liars.

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