Jul. 9, 2001. 01:30 AM
They battled the police, prosecutors and politicians — and won.
Now patients who use marijuana for medicinal purposes face a new foe: the medical lobby.
The Canadian Medical Association has come out against Ottawa's decision to allow individuals who are terminally ill or suffer chronic pain to grow and use marijuana.
"The CMA believes that it is premature for Health Canada to expand broadly the medicinal use of marijuana before there is adequate scientific support,'' said Dr. Hugh Scully, past president of the association.
Dr. Ken Sky, who heads the Ontario Medical Association, says he would not prescribe marijuana to any of his patients.
He is urging Ottawa to allow more time for research before making the drug more accessible.
More research would certainly be useful. But unless these doctors have evidence that marijuana is harmful to patients seeking relief from the debilitating symptoms of AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or cancer, it is hard to understand their opposition.
Clearly, the individuals who have applied to grow and use cannabis believe it alleviates their suffering. There is no significant public danger. There are many drugs with more severe side effects in every pharmacy.
Health Minister Allan Rock should stay the course. He has struck the right balance between compassion and prudence.
It would be wrong to turn back the
clock and inhumane to take away the relief that medical marijuana users
fought so hard to get.