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Government Denial of Marijuana's Benefits

August 11, 2003

"Clear the Fumes at the DEA" (editorial, Aug. 5) was right on the mark. I am simply appalled at how our federal government continues its war on medical marijuana with such a superficial attitude.

But how could the Senate confirm Karen Tandy as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, a person who, when asked about the 1999 federal Institute of Medicine report that recognized medicinal value in marijuana, answered that she was "not personally familiar" with the report? Shouldn't it be required reading in the mind of any clear-thinking, justice-and-liberty-supporting official?

But that's the problem. Anyone drawing a federal paycheck, whether because of appointment or election, must pretend that evidence, both clinical and anecdotal, does not exist. And of course those on state payrolls bow down before the almighty federal government. The fact that we do have elected representatives who will support continued terror against the sick and dying because of special- interest pressure ought to give all of us second thoughts as to how many other issues might be supported so recklessly.

It's not about medical marijuana nearly as much as being about standing up for truth and liberty.

Rick L. Root

Westminster

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Maybe the medical marijuana producers should redefine their product as an "enhanced" cigarette, by adding a teensy bit of tobacco, thus redefining themselves as part of the tobacco industry. Then they wouldn't have to prove any "medical benefits."

Patricia E. Bransfield

Los Osos

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The DEA's position on medical marijuana is simply wrong. It is not consistent with modern peer-review scientific literature. Marijuana clearly has important medical properties, as it acts by enhancing the human endocannabinoid system.

Cannabis extracts have proven beneficial effects for pain and multiple sclerosis, and there is strong scientific support for its beneficial effects on numerous other illnesses for which anecdotal use has been reported, including cancer, autoimmune diseases and epilepsy.

Whether the government's policy on medical marijuana is the result of ignorance or evil, it must end now.

Robert J. Melamede

Chairman, Biology Dept.

University of Colorado

Colorado Springs

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