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point and counterpoint on medicinal cannabis

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A Pro medicinal cannabis rebuttal

Position statement release date 10-27-1998

On November 3 we Alaskans will be voting on an important issue -- The medicinal use of Cannabis, better known as marijuana. Medical use of Marijuana has been proven to alleviate the suffering of individuals with specific life threatening illnesses. Pros and Cons of this issue appear in the State of Elections Pamphlet.

Although the opponents of this important measure try to take the moral high ground on this issue, they fail to address the most vital issues of the sick and infirm. They do not address the right to personal dignity, and the basic rights to privacy. Nor do they address the legal matters associated with this petition, such as:

1. The State maintained registry of patients, open to law enforcement. The requirement to carry an ID card. No other medical treatment permits such affront to privacy of the ill.
2. The alternative to the listing of name with the State is proving in court by a preponderance (greater portion) of the evidence that you are innocent of illegal use. In other words the sick are no longer innocent until proven guilty, they are guilty until proven innocent
3. It will be a state agency that will approve your medication, not your personal physician. There is no provision within the new law that any bureaucrat making the decision have any medical training. Your medical doctor may only recommend.
4. This law will segregate the sick into a class unto their own. Only specific illnesses are covered. It does not matter if your physician believes you may benefit if your illness falls out of the specific classification.
5. Legal issue remain at question, such as petitioners who registered to vote with a false address, collected 4000 signatures and then disappeared, the dedication of funds, violation of the 30 day grace, etc.

In place of ethics, law, and factual information, the medical marijuana opponents choose to follow a path of a questionable nature.

It is claimed that THC levels where astronomically higher that just a decade earlier. Actually a Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi (the only official program that measured potency of cannabis) shows no consistent upward or downward trend, but a fluctuation of a mere 2 to 3.5 percent (1). If THC is so bad why are Alaskan opponents of medicinal cannabis promoting "pure THC" in synthetic form instead of "crude cannabis".

The second motive for recriminalzation was to send a message to our children in hope to keep kids off drugs, and reduce drug use.

Yet, according to the opponents of medical Cannabis, marijuana use has climbed on a national level since 1991. Specific numbers for Alaska were not provided, but it must be assumed that the trend was also seen in Alaska. And the September 4th 1998 issue of the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Zoran Yankovich, lead DEA agent stated "In the last few years, it (sic-drug use) has picked up tremendously.".

Does it sound like the grand experiment "sending a message" or "get on tough on drugs" worked? Apparently not. Yet now the opponents use these same arguments to deny the sick a medication of proven worth.

A survey completed by Senator Paul Simon of prison wardens disclosed 85% of the prison wardens surveyed felt elected officials weren't offering effective Solutions. It also found that 65% wanted shorter sentences for non violent offenders and longer sentences for violent offenders. Eighty-nine percent of the same wardens favored treatment to reduce prison recidivism. Prison Wardens see the end result of this countries drug policies (2).

They also assert "Now, at a time when illegal drug use is destroying the very foundation of our Nation, and this great state - the family unit -- this Act is attempting to legalize marijuana as a medicine."

What About Alcohol? The Department of public Safety in their "1996 Drug and Alcohol Enforcement Report to the Governor and the Alaska Legislature" stated "Alcohol is the primary substance of abuse in Alaska and is the leading cause of violence and accidental deaths in Alaska.".

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medicinal cannabis, THC, potency, recriminalzation, DEA, prison wardens, legalize, marijuana