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Argues For The Decriminalization Of Medicinal Marijuana.

2173 words - 9 pages

Gordon Hanson, an epileptic, served six months in a jail cell in Minnesota. Byron Stamate spent three months in a California jail when he tried to help his disabled girlfriend. Gordon Farrell Ethridge spent 60 days in an Oregon cell, though he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Will Forster was sentenced to spend more than 90 years in an Oklahoma jail, despite the fact that he suffered from chronic pain. These four people were all unjustly forced to serve time for trying to self-medicate with marijuana. As a result of the sentences, Hanson served his time despite his sporadic seizures. Stamate's girlfriend committed suicide so she would not have to testify against her boyfriend. Ethridge served his time while enduring the side effects caused by chemotherapytreatments. And Forster still sits in a jail cell, continuing to have chronic pain (Marijuana PolicyProject, http://www.mpp.org).There are only seven people allowed by federal law to use marijuana medicinally, though tens of thousands of people use it as a medicine nationwide (MPP). For some people, legal medical options have been proven unsafe or ineffective, leading them to consider marijuana. Their only options are to either continue to suffer from their ailment or break the law, forcing them to worry about the trauma of getting caught. If this happened, their house would besearched and they would be handcuffed and escorted away in a police car. They may serve time in jail, eventually having to deal with court costs and attorney fees. Probation would result in urine tests, preventing the use of medicinal marijuana. The patient could lose their job, resulting in inability to pay for insurance or their bills. They would also get the reputation of being a "druggie," making doctors reluctant to prescribe pain medication to them, even if they desperately needed it. Patients who risk breaking the law to medicate themselves must worry constantly that they may be caught and put behind bars, in spite of the fact that they are seriously ill, and suffer the results of their arrest.In the United States, where our Bill of Rights ensures that citizens are not to be cruelly or unusually punished, patients should not be arrested for trying to relieve their suffering. Unfortunately, those who use marijuana for medicinal purposes have no more security than those who use it for recreational purposes, leaving them either to worry about getting caught or sitting in prison. Congress has the power and responsibility to change the laws that are forcing thousands of people to live in fear or in a jail cell, yet they chose to inhumanely punish those who are seriously ill for trying to medicate themselves.It is a common misconception that there are scientific reasons for marijuana to be illegal to those who need it medicinally. More than 70 modern studies published by peer-reviewed journals or government agencies have proven that marijuana not only has medicinal purposes, but for many patients is the best...

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