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Editorial: Why Do People the Government Says Don't Exist Keep Writing Me?

Submitted by David Borden on (Issue #497)
Drug War Issues

David Borden, Executive Director

David Borden
One of the mantras in the prohibitionist movement is the claim that "medical marijuana is a hoax." They call it a "cruel hoax" when they're feeling especially passionate or threatened.

We in the drug reform movement often feel bemused by this. After all, we actually know medical marijuana patients -- yes, real live medical marijuana patients. We interact with them at conferences. We help them with protests. Some of us lobby with them in Congress or the state houses. Their relatives are our friends and colleagues too.

During the recent efforts around the Hinchey/Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment last month, a lot of people concerned with the issue sent us emails, and some of them were patients. I've published some of their comments on our blog, but I think they merit republishing here:

"I have had multiple sclerosis and a seizure disorder for 13 years now. I tried it the legal way and just got sicker and sicker, to the point of staying in bed all day. Then I tried marijuana, and it's like a wonder drug for me! I do not get high from the marijuana, it helps relax my muscles and takes the spasms away. Not to mention it's the only way I have an appetite to eat anything. How could someone tell me, no medical marijuana for you?"

"Six years ago I was literally struck down with Fibromyalgia. I simply couldn't get out of bed one morning. I crawled versus walking most of the time as it was less painful. My husband had to lift me onto the toilet, give me baths, cook, etc., because I was of no use to anyone, including myself. I also had no appetite whatsoever. I lost 20 pounds in a matter of weeks, leaving me a frail 100 lb 50 year old. My husband thought maybe marijuana might help with my appetite, so he "scored" some for me. It not only restored my appetite, it also took a lot of my pain away. It makes me sick to think we both could have been arrested. When is this country going to wake up?!!"

"I have had to move back home to a state that does not allow the medical use of marijuana -- the state I was in before, Maine, allowed it -- and it is very hard for me to find relief from my pain now. My doctor has increased my medications twofold, and I do not get the pain control I had on 1/2 the narcotics with the smoke. I just hope some day the government will stop demonizing a very useful tool, and allow us who really get relief from it without abuse of the drug."

Why do these people whom the government claims don't exist keep writing me? So much for the "hoax" -- the hoax is calling it a hoax. Another particularly misleading argument we hear from prohibitionists is that "there are better medicines" than marijuana for the conditions people are using it for. Even if it were true (across the board in the way they are claiming), the idea that there are better medicines implicitly contains within it the implication that marijuana is at least a medicine -- and therefore not a hoax.

But the argument is fundamentally flawed. Medicine is an individual matter. The best medicine for me, for a given condition, might not be the best one for you, even if you suffer from the same condition, and vice versa. Doubtless some medications stand out as having a superior track record overall to other ones -- some doubtless stand out for their negatives too, and there may even be some conditions for which one choice of medicine really is the best one across the board. But in general that's not the case -- the idea that there is one best medicine, for all patients, is a false one, and being the "best" is not the standard that's in place for approval of a drug as a medicine. The standard is that the drug has medical benefit, and can be taken with a sufficient degree of safety. Those who argue that there are better medicines than marijuana are applying a double standard, and one that doesn't really make sense.

So who's committing the hoax? (Hint: Not I.)

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

It's tragic that in 2007, articles like this even have to be written, but clearly, they do. The public is continually fed propaganda about all drugs, designed to perpetuate the industries that profit from prohibition, and the massive infrastructure that exists to fight the so-called "war on drugs."

So as long as articles like this have to be written, they may as well be good, and in my opinion, this one is.

Jim Stephens
Chief Information Officer
All Positive Options -
The Science Of Addiction - The Art Of Recovery

Fri, 08/10/2007 - 11:23am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Prohibitionists within government that perpetuate the myth that medical marijuana is a "hoax" do so in order to discredit those that use it and so that they
(the government prohibitionists) don't come across as the monsters they in fact are. Prohibitionists, particularly those within government, have demonstrated time and time again they are bullies, cowards, thieves and bald faced liars. It really is a shame that this lot aren't held accountable for their misdeeds.

Sat, 08/11/2007 - 6:00am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Fact: Most prohibitionists are ultra nutty Christians.
Fact: Christians, like government, believe in manifest destiny and the "ends justifys the means".

What's profoundly disturbing about our delusional christian enemies is their truth is as strong as their falasehood.

If we are to defeat these criminal bastards then we must treat them for what they are... and be equally willing to kill and incarcerate them... that's how real war works!


Billy B Blunt
Tascoma, WA

P.S. As long as gov't & religion, the 2 biggest antagonists to liberty, are part of the drug war equation our freedoms will remain hidden over the horizon.

Sat, 08/11/2007 - 11:41am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Dear Mr Billy Blunt,

You obviously have not seen or read any of the information from Christians who, also, oppose prohibition. Many state that MJ it is a "gift from God", a plant created by Him, given to us, for us to enjoy! It has been suggested tht the Jews used it in their anointing oil (kanabos). Generalizations are not all inclusive. Making blanket statements tends to ignore the people who are inside those blanket organizations, fighting for our rights to imbibe anything we want. There is not "Thou shalt not get intoxicated" in the Bible. In fact, there are many scriptures that talk about alcohol, but none that prohibit its intake! One scripture states that strong drink is for the bereaved. Most of those "Christians" you are referring to have probably not read the Bible, all of the way through! They would be more concerned about brotherly love than judging everyone else!

A compassionate Christian

Sat, 08/11/2007 - 12:54pm Permalink
puregenius (not verified)

Prohibitionists and medical cannabis deniers are clinging for dear life to the premise that anything smoked can't be medicine. This argument has been dismissed by the simple fact that affordable vaporizers are not hard to find.

It is infuriating that the government claims international agreements prevent it from making major changes to the drug laws. The government has trampled all over the Geneva Convention, but somehow the International Single Convention on Narcotics is sacred.

Mon, 08/13/2007 - 5:02am Permalink

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