Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reefer Madness, Indeed

Felonious Father and Abetting Mother (ca. 1978)
Longtime visitors to Kiko's House know that few things frost me more than the phony debate over medical marijuana.
There is ample evidence that smoked marijuana can save lives. It eases nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy and other crippling treatments and helps mitigate the effects of AIDS wasting and glaucoma. There also is ample evidence that with the vast majority of users, marijuana is not a so-called gateway drug that leads them to hard drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Yet the Federal Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Administration continue to oppose any use of medical marijuana , including in the eleven states that have legalized its use as a result of voter initiatives, and assert that it has no benefits whatsoever.
And so there was a dreary familiarity about the negative reaction to a new study that found recovering drug addicts infected with the hepatitis C virus are more likely to stick to their medication regimens if they are allowed to use marijuana.

Beyond the Bush administration's efforts to substitute junk science for the real thing, there is another aspect of the debate that trips my hypocrisy trigger:
Cigarettes, alcohol, abused pain killers and other medications take hundreds of thousands of American lives each year and the cost of treating the millions of people addicted to those substances runs into the tens of billions of dollars.

But I have yet to hear of a single person who packed in because they smoked pot.
I have a very personal stake in all of this -- a family member and a deceased friend. Both found that the pain from their decades long debilitating conditions was measurably eased because of marijuana.

Then there was my father, who is standing with my mother in the photo above. That's not a marijuana cigarette that he's holding, but:
After my father -- addicted to nicotine for his entire adult life -- began chemotherapy for late-stage lung cancer many years ago, I made arrangements to have a little package of marijuana cigarettes sent to my mother. She stored them in the Frigidaire and doled them out to my father when his chemo-induced nausea was especially awful.

My father died before he had hardly made a dent in the package, but the cigarettes were a great source of relief for this gentle man who wouldn't hurt a soul but was then -- and still would be considered now -- a criminal by the government of his beloved country.


highwayscribery said...

powerful stuff Kiko. Good on you, as they say down under.

Shaun Mullen said...

I thank you, my father thanks you, my mother thanks you . .

Anonymous said...

Enjoy following your blog - thanks for the many insightful posts.

pedro velasquez said...

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Samuel Zamora said...

Mexico's illegal-reefer madness
In the face of a crisis in drug-related violence, Mexico should reconsider its policy criminalizing marijuana.sportsbook
May 04, 2009|Isaac Campos , Isaac Campos is an assistant professor of history at the University of Cincinnati and a visiting fellow at UC San Diego's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies.Last month, Mexico's Congress convened a special forum to consider marijuana policy reform as a remedy for that country's current crisis of violence.march madness The forum bucked a century of staunch prohibitionist history in Mexico, a history that has contributed to the continued criminalization of marijuana use throughout North America.From early on, marijuana was portrayed in Mexico as a frightening substance that produced madness in its users. In 1897, Revista Medica, one of Mexico's leading scientific journals, reported that marijuana produced "pleasant visions and hallucinations," an "expansion of the spirit that leads to exaltation" but also an "impulsive delirium" with often fatal consequences: "It is true that in other regions the delirium that is produced by marijuana is a turbulent one, but in our country it reaches the point of furor, terrible and blind impulse, and leads to murder."

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