March 11, 2004

And you laugh at all the sailors freezing on the sea

* Excellent Chicago Tribune editorial on medical marijuana. excerpts:

"The current Bush administration has been equally horrified by the idea that marijuana could be anything but evil. Not long after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when you might have thought the Justice Department had more urgent priorities, federal agents continued raiding 'cannabis clubs' that furnish pot to patients whose doctors have prescribed it, in accordance with state law.

"As if it weren't enough to dictate what goes into patients' mouths, U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft also took it upon himself to dictate what could come out of doctors' mouths: The administration made it illegal for physicians to prescribe or even discuss marijuana with their patients as a treatment."

"But that hasn't stopped the president's lieutenants from pursuing their vendetta. Andrea Barthwell, deputy director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, denounced the 9th Circuit's reasoning. "There is no scientific evidence that qualifies smoked marijuana to be called medicine," she declared.

"Her opinion rejects the view of many medical professionals, including those at the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, which has called for rescinding the federal ban. It also ignores a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, a federal body, which recognized 'the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.'"

"The next administration might be better, or it might not. John Edwards has rejected marijuana as medicine while endorsing the federal raids on cannabis clubs. John Kerry, however, supports federal legislation allowing the medical use of marijuana with a doctor's approval. Asked last year if he would halt the Drug Enforcement Administration raids, he didn't give one of those long-winded answers that Edwards has mocked. His reply was a model of brevity: "Yes."

"On this issue, Kerry is in perfect step with public opinion. Ten states have legalized medical marijuana, and more than 30 have passed resolutions in favor of it. Polls indicate that the great majority of Americans think cannabis should be available for whatever medical value it has.

"But Bush and Edwards want to continue a vindictive policy that ignores the experience of medical professionals, shortchanges science and treats suffering people as criminals.

"It's enough to make you ill."

* Calpundit on george tenets testimony and his relationship with dick cheney.

* As military and congressional investigators continue to pore over Halliburton's books, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is raising questions about cost estimates that fluctuate by as much as $700 million or that rely on information from sacked subcontractors.


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