Thursday, 17 May 2012

Medical marijuana: get used to it

After a diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, New York State Supreme Court Justice Gustin L. Reichbach eventually discovered that "inhaled marijuana" was the only medication that allowed him to eat and sleep as needed to manage his pain and maintain his weight, energy, and morale. Unfortunately, for him, New York has not legalized medical marijuana, so his friends provide it "at some personal risk", illegally. Says Reichbach:

"This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue. Being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am receiving the absolute gold standard of medical care. But doctors cannot be expected to do what the law prohibits, even when they know it is in the best interests of their patients. When palliative care is understood as a fundamental human and medical right, marijuana for medical use should be beyond controversy."
"Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease."
Notice that he is not advocating for the more controversial general legalization of marijuana, but simply that medical patients should have legal access to medicine that has been proven effective. He also implies that marijuana is already so easy to get that there is little risk involved, but that isn't the point. Who benefits when otherwise law-abiding citizens are made into criminals for accessing medicine that can greatly improve their lives at little cost to themselves, government, and society?

In Canada, the question remains relevant as the government works to make it as difficult as possible for medical marijuana users to get their stuff. Why?

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