Hutchinson Leader, MN
Marijuana should be legal for medical purposes
September 4, 2008 - 9:42am — Melissa Sullivan
From Andrew Hankins
I noticed the most recent poll from the Hutchinson Leader that asked people to give their opinions on the 21-year-old alcohol drinking age. I wonder why we are debating about a substance that is already legal when we need marijuana prohibition policy now before any more innocent people are sent to jail or prison.
Medical marijuana is a popular issue. A nationwide poll showed 78 percent of Americans "support making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering," and state medical marijuana initiatives have been repeatedly endorsed by voters. Marijuana has never caused a single medically documented overdose death — unlike alcohol.
Many of the legal alternatives proposed by opponents of medical marijuana are too expensive, too addictive, and have too many side effects to be good medicine for all patients.
Many otherwise illegal substances, such as cocaine and morphine, can legally be prescribed by doctors. The same should be true for marijuana.
Our state should abolish alcohol, or take a serious look at legalizing marijuana. Ultimately, the decision of what medicine is best for an illness should be left up to the patient and the doctor, not to the government When they have their doctors' approval, patients should be able to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest and imprisonment. They should also be able to rely on a safe supply of marijuana, without having to resort to the dangerous criminal market.