Volume 91, Issue 12

Wednesday, September 17, 1997



Prescription hemp

Legalize it!

Enough Redux, bring on the pot.

On Monday, a 36-year-old woman suffering from multiple sclerosis was arrested in London after a staged media event in which she smoked a marijuana joint in front of the London Police Department. Lynn Harichy was trying to encourage public support for legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes – a drug she says benefits her by easing severe pain from her hands and feet.

Harichy brought the issue to the attention of politicians who categorically ignored her previous efforts to garner support. In the United States, the discussion has already taken flight, yet Canadians are still grounded. This is not a question of legalization for recreational purposes, this is specific to the medicinal use issue.

People with serious illnesses require something to ease their pain and apparently marijuana provides that something. Unfortunately, something is wrong with that in the eyes of society. We are a society of doubting Thomas'. We need hardcore tactile evidence before giving our allegiance to an idea, object or in this case a drug. People require scientific proof before allowing drug consumption by the public.

Although government bureaucrats have repeatedly stated there is no proof marijuana actually relieves pain, the Canadian government refuses to provide money for effective research. One has to wonder why that is, when many people who use it for those purposes say it works. Should research not be a priority?

Bold and forward thinking would give sufferers instant relief. Instead, a lengthy legislative log jam will hold these people at bay, or at the mercy of government sanctioned drugs which are at times, ineffective.

The Canadian government must take immediate steps to address this issue by funding research. This will fulfill society's insistence on scientific proof.

A measure that would satisfy both the suffering and the government would be to move forward with research that would involve the current volunteer patients as test subjects. The psychological effects of marajuana along with its effect on the nervous system could be analysed for the benefit of medicine, meanwhile, those in pain could receive the treatment they desire.

As it stands, we are forcing people who require pain alleviation to the black market to get relief. Why have we not followed the example of those south of the border. California is making efforts to bring sufferers a sense of dignity. An AIDS victim need not feel like a criminal on top of everything else. These are people looking for help, not simply a quick fix.

Government regulated distribution of marijuana is something that should be a foregone conclusion. It is time for us to get off the pot and get on the pot.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997