Friday, February 06, 2009

Making the Case for Medical Marijuana

Many, many thanks Courtney!

By: Courtney Haden Birmingham Weekly


As the planning session broke up in elegant old Prince Hall downtown, the former gubernatorial candidate strode over and asked a visitor, "So, do you think we're batshit crazy?"

All Loretta Nall and the Alabamians for Compassionate Care want to do is persuade our monumentally intractable legislature, on the cusp of an election year, to disregard 70 years of social taboos and a federal pharmaceutical jihad to ordain that the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes shall be legal throughout the state.

Of course they're crazy. But folks like Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. used to be called that, too.

For many, the phrase "medical marijuana" conjures up visions of tie-dyed zonkers malingering their way through bales of government ganja. ( In terms of image, Nall says, "Cheech and Chong have not necessarily been our friends." )

The people at Prince Hall Saturday afternoon looked neither hippie nor dippy. For them, medical marijuana is a crucial factor in improving the quality of life for chronically ill people, and they couldn't be more serious about changing the law.

Our modern hysteria over the use of marijuana would have bemused our ancestors. The Chinese employed it 4,000 years ago as an anesthetic, in ancient India, doctors prescribed it to mothers in labor and the Egyptians of long-ago dynasties even used it in suppositories for hemorrhoids. Here in America, many of the Founding Fathers grew hemp on their plantations, and marijuana was widely used as a pain reliever in an age before the invention of aspirin.


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