Compassion: Connecticut should allow medical marijuana

May 24, 2007

EDITORIAL, Danbury News-Times (CT)

There is controversy involved in the use of marijuana for medical purposes, with opponents insisting that legalization is a slippery slope that will encourage the use of illegal drugs.

For those who suffer from debilitating illnesses and have used marijuana to ease their condition, this is about freedom and compassion. They don't think police and lawmakers should be able to label them criminals.

Connecticut has struggled with this issue over the years. In 1981, it adopted one of the first medical marijuana laws in the nation. The law allows a physician to prescribe marijuana to relieve nausea from chemotherapy and eye pressure from glaucoma.

But this law is unworkable. Under federal law, physicians who prescribe marijuana risk having their right to prescribe drugs revoked as well as being sent to prison.

This year, the legislature is considering another approach. A bill would allow a physician to certify that an adult patient would benefit from the use of marijuana. After registering with the state Department of Consumer Protection, the patient and the patient's primary caregiver could grow, indoors, no more than four marijuana plants.

It is heartbreaking to hear patients and their loved ones begging for the legal right to the relief that marijuana provides to some patients.

A carefully regulated program will allow them to get the help, the freedom, they request in a compassionate and legal manner.



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