The Medical Marijuana Magazine

Sound off: Marijuana as Medicine
Health benefits far outweigh law, readers say.

Peter McWilliams
Chris Pizzello

Peter McWilliams looks through photographs at his California home for his upcoming book about medical marijuana.

The Detroit News recently asked readers: Should the state allow patients with cancer and other serious illnesses to get a prescription to use marijuana for pain and nausea relief? Here are the responses:

"It's absolutely ridiculous that a doctor can say to a patient, 'See if you can find some marijuana to relieve your pain and nausea though I can't prescribe some.' That is exactly what was said to three friends of mine who were suffering and in agony and the drug would have enabled them to eat. It was necessary for me to locate some (at a humongous price) to give them their relief. All three have since died but they told me how grateful they were for my help. Frankly, I'm not interested in marijuana, but I'm strongly in favor of it being accessible to everyone; if not, at least let the doctors practice their profession as best they can." Rosemary Harnden

Royal Oak Medical community is split. If the medical community is split over whether marijuana can offer relief to the sick, it does not make sense for the state to put its foot down on this issue one way or the other. The state should butt out and we should hold the physicians responsible for what they prescribe. Pradeep Srivastava

Detroit Opponents lack logic: Although I wouldn't touch marijuana for any reason personally at this time, I could not help to see how far short of the truth of logic the opponents of medical marijuana actually are. Your article cited three reasons. Let's take them on at a time:

* It would send a mixed message to the public since the government campaigns to convince consumers that all smoking is bad and that marijuana is a dangerous drug.

Our government is already sending a mixed message by telling us that smoking is bad while at the same time it is pouring millions (if not billions) into subsidies for tobacco farmers.

* The federal government, which banned its use in 1937, still labels marijuana as a dangerous drug, which contains hundreds of compounds, some suspected of causing cancer. When was the last time you saw a person who has AIDS or cancer worried about getting cancer? AIDS victims and terminal cancer victims are mostly interested in easing their suffering and living as much of their lives as fully as possible in the short time they have left. Who are we to deny them that.

* Letting voters determine whether marijuana is a safe medicine is a bad public policy.

So, I suppose lawyers and politicians are better at making medical decisions than the average voter? This is just plain arrogance on the part of politicians in Washington, Lansing and even city hall. All medical decisions are ultimately the responsibility of the patient or his or her family if the patient cannot speak himself (or herself) with hopefully the consultation of a medical professional. Allowing your personal views on the validity or invalidity of medical marijuana is a cruel and unchristian way of forcing people to suffer needlessly at the hands of politicians need to micro manage each and every person's life. It's about time we restore the freedom of people (even if it's just the dying ones) to relieve their suffering any way they see fit. And if you somehow disagree with one of those ways (such as assisted suicide in my case) try the power of persuasion instead of the force of government to convince them otherwise. You'll be surprised at how much better life gets.
Bill Carver Eastpointe

Medicinal use is OK. Marijuana should be allowed for medicinal purposes. I am not a marijuana smoker, nor do I have many friends that are. In most cases, marijuana is used to make you hungry, and calm the nausea so you do not throw up the food and medicine you have just ingested. If you aren't hungry and throw up when you are able to eat, how can you expect to survive?
Shane Matthew

Use doesn't hurt society I'm a strong proponent of medical use of marijuana. Marijuana usage by adults, especially if prescribed by a doctor and especially if it used to ease the symptoms of the big three (glaucoma, AIDS-related wasting, chemotherapy-related nausea), does not adversely affect society at all. In fact, it would probably help society -- providing tax-paying jobs supplying/growing marijuana, reduce the illegal drug trade, and facilitate taxation of marijuana sold for medicinal purposes. Marijuana should also be removed from the Schedule 1 drug list so its medicinal uses can be studied more freely, and so the American public can finally be truthfully informed as to the reality of marijuana, its side effects, its long-term effects, and how it compares to present pharmaceutical products available to treat the same symptoms. Peter McWilliams, on a side note, is a fabulous author. His book _ Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do; the Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in a Free Society _ is an authoritative text on the subject of legalizing marijuana and various other consensual crimes. Alissia Kass Huntington Woods

Citizens can make choices I strongly support the movement for legal medical marijuana use. The real crime here is the fact that our government can justify denying terminally and otherwise ill patients marijuana, a substance that has proven to ease the pain and suffering caused by their diseases, without being able to show that it is a dangerous drug. Furthermore, who decided that American citizens were not capable of making their own decisions? It is more than a shame when slanted public policy interferes with basic human rights.
Amanda Rosman

'An inalienable right'
Thank you so very much for presenting this issue to the public. As a San Franciscan now living in Grand Rapids, I am very much aware of the opposition to medical marijuana among the public in Michigan. That a natural growing substance that has proven over many years to have medicinal benefits for people in pain, can be opposed by so many who call themselves "Christians", and who are so morally myopic, is hard to understand. I don't use marijuana recreationally nor for medical purposes, but I support what I feel is an inalienable right for those who do. With regard to the governor opining that synthetic substitutes are available, I wonder if he's speaking from personal experience, or has he, in his spare time, been awarded a degree in medicine? The fact is that substitutes invariably cause more damage than they do good. Someday in the future, Michiganders will look back and wonder how people here in this time could have been so incredibly stupid.

Lee Neidow

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