Medical marijuana: leave choice to patients

May 29, 2006

Ernestine Olsen, OpEd, Asbury Park Press (NJ)

I  read with interest the opposing views of the medical marijuana issue and was appalled by the arrogance and smugness of the anti-marijuana commentary written by David Evans of the Drug-Free Schools coalition. ("Medical marijuana support not backed by scientific studies,'" May 17.)

I am 70 years old, a registered nurse and have never taken an illegal drug. I do, however, know what pain is. I have seen many people suffer terribly, including my own son who died at 31 of colon cancer.

He never had the desire to use an illegal substance and resisted anything he considered mind-altering. But if he had desired it for relief of pain, I would have fought like a tiger for him to get it.

I was stunned by the idiotic statement, "Marijuana is intoxicating so it's not surprising that sincere people report relief of their symptoms when they smoke it. They may be feeling better but may be getting worse due to the detrimental effects of it." I doubt anyone suffering pain and facing death cares about anything but getting relief. It is also ridiculous to state that people are making money selling marijuana to sick people. No one would have to go to an illegal supplier if it were allowed legally to be prescribed.

I also challenge the statement that proponents who argue the case for passage of the law to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana are basing their case on emotion rather than science. We are not a police state in which scientists and pharmaceutical companies rule our private lives. A caring society should allow ill people to use any course of treatment they wish.

Evans tells us to leave this to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA makes errors, as evidenced by the recent lawsuits against drug manufacturers that had FDA approval.

Meanwhile, people are suffering with pain and are being denied the right to select their own course of treatment. For heaven's sake, let's show some mercy and let the patient, doctor and family make their own decisions.

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