Making case for marijuana

June 06, 2002

Mike Snyder, Houston Chronicle,

On a blazing afternoon this week, about 20 people assembled in front of a nondescript office building on the West Loop. They held up signs, shouted slogans and denounced the federal government's raids of marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized medical marijuana use. The local event in front of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration offices was coordinated with similar protests in cities across the country, including major cities in the nine states that have medical marijuana laws.

Leaders of Houston's small but passionate drug policy reform movement plan to introduce a medical marijuana bill in the Texas Legislature next year. Their broader agenda, discussed in a conference at Rice University's Baker Public Policy Institute in April, focuses on spreading their message that the 'war on drugs' has been a costly, destructive failure.

Middle-aged men in business suits, college-aged men and women with assorted body piercings, and a paraplegic in a wheelchair were among the participants in this week's protest, which led to no arrests or confrontations with authorities.

Frank Smith, 80, said he has never used marijuana but opposes its prohibition, particularly for medical purposes, on principle. Proponents say marijuana is useful for conditions ranging from glaucoma to multiple sclerosis.

'I have prostate cancer,' Smith said. 'If I should ever need marijuana, I want to be able to smoke it without going to jail.'

Be the first to Comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.