It's time to approve medical marijuana

April 17, 2007

EDITORIAL, Chicago Sun-Times

We've all seen the images and heard the testimony of ailing Americans who gain relief from their chronic physical pain or discomfort by smoking marijuana. These people have no other remedies at their disposal to make their lives more tolerable.

Since the 2006 Supreme Court ruling against people who use prescription pot, 12 states have rallied to pass bills protecting them from prosecution.

Efforts to get such a bill through the Illinois General Assembly have been bumpy. But with the shift in power in Springfield, there is optimism that a bill introduced by Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, will be approved. We urge his colleagues to pass it when it comes up for a vote. We also encourage the Indiana General Assembly to follow its neighbor's lead.

Far from opening the door to decriminalizing marijuana, the bill stipulates that the only people eligible to use it are those afflicted with cancer, glaucoma, positive HIV status or Hepatitis C, or who are "diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition" accompanied by severe symptoms. The individual and one primary caregiver would be issued a registry identification card by the Department of Public Health that would permit them to possess a limited amount of cannabis in plant or usable form.

Would the system be abused? Most likely, yes. But tight controls would keep it to a minimum. Any abuses of the system would be worth tolerating if it meant cancer patients could alleviate their nausea or vomiting, and if AIDS patients could regain their appetites.

Medical marijuana is just that: medicine. Denying it to those who need it borders on cruelty.

 

This reflects the consensus of Sun-Times News Group newspapers in metropolitan Chicago.



Be the first to Comment

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