MEDICAL MARIJUANA: An Appeal to ‘Compassion and Common Sense’
Writing in today's San Jose Mercury News, Santa Clara University law professor and ethics scholar Gerald F. Uelmen, who served on Attorney General Bill Lockyer's (D) medical marijuana task force, declares, "no political issue in America today defines the need for compassionate politicians better than medical marijuana." Uelmen takes issue with Gov. Gray Davis' intention to veto an Assembly Health Committee-approved marijuana registry bill on grounds it is "clearly in conflict with federal law." Uelmen says that not only is federal policy on medical marijuana not clear, but the "federal government has never prosecuted a cancer or AIDS patient for simple possession of marijuana for personal use. Nor will it, because government officials realize no jury would ever convict such a case." Uelmen writes, "A California governor can't hide behind the federal drug czar. He took an oath to uphold California laws." And with the passage of Proposition 215, Uelmen says, California law clearly states that "patients afflicted with debilitating diseases have a 'right' to possess and use medical marijuana with the recommendation or approval of their physicians." Referring obliquely to hard-line anti-drug arguments against medical marijuana, Uelmen states, "In an era of sound-bite politics, it's hard to convince many politicians that the public is sophisticated enough to accept compassion for the sick and dying as an exception to a strong anti-drug stance" (7/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.