MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Ex-Presidents Weigh In
In a letter solicited by federal drug czar Barry McCaffrey, three former U.S. presidents drafted a "Dear Fellow Citizens" letter opposing the medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot in several states this year. Closely mirroring the Clinton administration position on the issue, former presidents George Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford argued that legalizing medical marijuana use would undermine "public confidence in the safety of medicines." They wrote, "These initiatives are not based on the best available science. ... Ignoring science does not promote good medicine and is not in our national interest." The former presidents said the initiatives "undercut our national commitment to ensuring that medicines are proven to be safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration before being approved for use by the public." Speaking out against the initiatives, drug czar McCaffrey said Tuesday that passing the initiatives "would prejudge clinical research to determine the safety of using marijuana by AIDS patients" (Burns, AP/Fairfax Journal, 10/29).
Bane To Employers?
Calvina Fay, deputy director of the Drug Free America Foundation Inc., argued in a publicly released op-ed that any statewide legalization of marijuana will have unforseen consequences on employers. She points out that allowing an individual to smoke the drug may lead to legal action under the Americans with Disabilities Act, should they be denied employment. Further, "[e]mployees who smoke marijuana as a 'medicine' may force their employees to provide special accommodations for them to smoke their 'medicine.'" She also notes that employers should consider other issues related to the employment of marijuana smokers, such as workplace safety, violence, increased liability or workers' compensation costs and possible loss of federal contracts (release, 10/29).
Out Of Time In CO
A Denver District Court judge yesterday refused to intervene in the case to get Colorado's medical marijuana initiative put on the ballot next Tuesday. "It's certainly unfortunate that Amendment 19 is in such a state," said Judge Bonnie Peterson. She refused to take up the matter, however, as it already stands before the state Supreme Court, which has upheld the decision of Secretary of State Vikki Buckley to invalidate the petition, due to a lack of legitimate signatures. Maurice Knaizer, a deputy attorney general representing Buckley's office, said, "There just needs to be some certainty in the election process so that voters know what they're voting on prior to Election Day. That is our main concern" (Boyle, Colorado Springs Gazette, 10/29).