Letter to the Editor
Published in July/August 2007, 3:4 > Medical Marijuana.
in Neurology Now: Volume 3(4)
in the July/August 2007 Issue on page 8
From Daniel Pope
I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in early 2003. I am also
one of the approximately 1,400 registered medical marijuana
patients under Colorado’s Amendment 20, so I feel that I can offer
a unique perspective as to what the government should be doing
about medical marijuana.
The human need to seek relief from pain and suffering is a medical
issue, not a legal one, and it should be dealt with within the
context of the doctor-patient relationship. Congress needs to
immediately order the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to stop
arresting and prosecuting licensed patients, caregivers, and their
providers in the states that have passed medical marijuana laws.
Contrary to the 1988 ruling of DEA administrative law judge Francis
L. Young, who said cannabis has been accepted as capable of
relieving the distress from great numbers of very ill people, and
of doing so with safety under medical supervision, the DEA
continues to deny the medical efficacy of marijuana. Many
chronically and terminally ill people, and those who care for them,
are treated like violent criminals and drug dealers when their only
crime was to seek relief from their pain. Not only is this policy
inhumane, it is a tremendous waste of supposedly scarce financial
resources. Society is better served when state and local law
enforcement agencies are tasked with enforcing the medical
marijuana laws of their respective states.
Secondly, Congress needs to order the DEA to quit blocking efforts
to reschedule marijuana and allow researchers such as Professor
Lyle Craker, Ph.D., at the University of Massachusetts to
scientifically study the therapeutic effects of marijuana. Despite
efforts by senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry-and despite the
opinion of DEA administrative law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner, who
said that it would be in the public interest to allow Professor
Craker to proceed with his research-the DEA continues to stonewall
all attempts at any true scientific study of the medicinal
properties of cannabis.
Marijuana is a legitimate palliative medicine. It is far superior
at treating my symptoms than the pharmaceutical medications that I
have been prescribed and far less harmful.
Neurology Now published a strong letter to the editor from a medical marijuana patient in Colorado that urges DEA to accept Judge Bittner’s recent ruling on behalf of MAPS and Professor Lyle Craker.