A friend of mine is struggling with a tough choice. His mother, in her 80s, is dying. She has cancer and the tumors have reached her brain. She is deteriorating. Her concept of linear time has gone out the window. She thinks it’s day when it’s night. She’ll put a pot on a hot stove and forget about it.
My friend’s mother is a non-believer. She is sure no after-life awaits her. So she is scared. Terribly scared. The anti-anxiety medication she has been taking is no longer working. When he was visiting his mother recently, my friend went to her doctor and asked for, as he put it, “a happy pill” that would help her forget that soon, terribly soon, she will be leaving this world.
The doctor prescribed morphine, a really big bottle of it. But his mother has been asking for something else, a drug with fewer side effects, one that doesn’t involve needles, one that will let her appreciate her remaining moments without sending her into a stupor. She’s asked her son to score her some marijuana.
My friend lives in a state in the Northeast. His mother lives in one of those states in the Northwest that has taken the position that maybe if medical marijuana might help dying cancer patients, than who are we to judge and prosecute? And really, don’t we have better things to worry about than suffering old ladies toking a little bit of pot? But even in such enlightened states, getting access to medical marijuana can be difficult.
And my friend is on this side of the country. And his mother is on the other. He will be returning west soon, but because of our draconian federal drug laws, delivering marijuana across state lines remains a pretty serious crime.
But his mother is scared. What does he do? What would you do?
The ACLU’s position on the medical necessity defense for medical marijuana is this:
Medical marijuana is the only hope that some seriously ill patients have for relieving chronic pain, intractable nausea and the other side effects of chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and HIV/AIDS medications. Yet the Drug Enforcement Agency continues to prosecute sick people under federal law.
Even in the 11 states where medical marijuana is legal under state law, patients may have their assets seized, their medical marijuana destroyed, face massive fines and be imprisoned by federal courts. Federal prosecutors and judges often bar juries from hearing testimony about patients’ medical need for marijuana and instead present these patients as run-of-the-mill drug users.
Here’s a video of the Asylum Street Spankers that brilliantly illustrates the insanity of this nation’s War on Drugs.
Lauri in York