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NY Times editorial backs "humane" medical cannabis

Posted on July 30th, 2011 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

The New York Times on July 27 ran an editorial urging New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo to follow the lead of New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie and allow the seriously ill to self-medicate with cannabis. The editorial, dubbed "Sensible and Humane," is a good sign of more tolerant and enlightened attitudes reaching the mainstream—even on the traditionally more staid East Coast. The editorial reads:

There is no good reason to deprive patients with cancer or H.I.V. or Lou Gehrig's disease of the relief from pain or extreme nausea that could come from using marijuana.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who once opposed his state’s medical marijuana law, has changed his mind, deciding earlier this month to allow six alternative treatment centers to begin dispensing the drug to those in need, possibly by early next year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York needs to change his mind as well.

Governor Cuomo said during his 2010 campaign that he opposed legalization of medical marijuana. Recently, he said he was still opposed but that he was “reviewing” the issue and "we're always learning and listening, talking and growing. We hope." It shouldn't take much more personal growth to make the right call.

Governor Cuomo should ask Governor Christie about how he resolved his own doubts. Mr. Christie could explain how his law is the nation’s most restrictive and how the federal Justice Department has indicated that its agents will rightly direct their energies in New Jersey to go after big-time marijuana traffickers, not doctors or alternative centers helping the desperately ill.

Under New Jersey's law, doctors can recommend that a patient suffering from a specific disease or condition use marijuana of limited strength. Patients cannot grow their own, and they can only purchase 2 ounces every 30 days. Physicians must register to recommend the marijuana use, and patients and caregivers must undergo background checks to get ID cards.

Ironically, Christie is a conservative Republican who just signed controversial legislation that will force public employees to pay more for their pension and health insurance. (NJ.com, June 28) If he can have the guts to come around to logic on medical marijuana, what is stopping a supposed liberal Democrat like Cuomo?

Graphic from The Weed Blog

 

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