Thank you for writing your excellent article, “Medical Marijuana in Timid New Hampshire“. Knowing a little bit about your history helped me understand where you are coming from. Perhaps knowing something about my history will help you understand my perspective.
I have supported ending the insane “War on Drugs” for a very long time. I was an 12-step group member for 22 years, and sponsored many young people. There was a pattern I observed: A kid would get busted with some drug, go to a 12-step group, get sober, and turn out to be a decent kid. Then the charges would roll around, and the kid would go off to prison for a while. Sadly, the kid who came back from prison was rarely the same decent kid who went in. I have often compared it to having been buried in Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery. Prison is not, apparently, a “safe and effective” treatment for the disease of Alcoholism a/k/a Addiction. The “get tough” approach to Addiction does not work. The medical approach to Addiction does not work. What works is the Spiritual approach to Addiction, which is a Spiritual malady. That is provided very cheaply by AA, and NA, and many other fine 12-step programs.
My commitment to medical freedom was galvanized, as I watched the woman I loved die of Cancer. The government was wrong in many ways. It was not just forbidding Medical Marijuana. It was refusing her the hysterectomy she requested, saying that she was “too young” to make that decision for herself. It was refusing to allow her to attempt the experimental treatment which my father, who was Dean of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan, suggested, because the paperwork would take 3 months to go through, and “she would be dead by then” without the treatment we were trying to get permission to administer. It was refusing to allow her to try Naltrexone, an opiate antagonist, which has been shown in animal tests to prevent opiate intoxication while leaving the analgesic, or pain killing, properties intact … combined with opiate painkillers, it kills the pain without destroying the mind, and probably reduces the risk of addiction, since the patient does not experience intoxication. But they want us addicted to painkillers, they have proven that again and again. That is why any doctor can prescribe the most addictive drugs on earth, but you need special infrastructure to dispense the safest drug on earth, Marijuana. Why do they say that Marijuana needs to be controlled so much more carefully than Oxycodone? They claim … don’t laugh now, I’m sure they’re trying … that smoking weed can lead to using harder drugs like Oxycodone. Let that sink in for a minute. When you can take it no more, laugh or cry, I have done both.
This is why I have sought to legalize recreational Marijuana rather than medical marijuana. I want the patient to choose for him or herself how she should be treated, not left at the mercy of a Doctor whose interest is in helping himself, rather than helping her. The power dynamic of the doctor-patient relationship is backwards in the United States, and it is because of government meddling, and of not allowing people to do what they know is right, regardless of whether they can convince the Doctor’s Cartel to allow them to do it.
Not only recreational Marijuana, but “recreational” hysterectomies should be permitted, if that is what the patient wants. The doctor should advise, but not decide. He should, of course, be free to refuse to participate in an action which he deems medically questionable or even foolish, but patients should be free to seek a provider who will perform the procedure, even one who is not a member of the Doctor’s Cartel, the AMA, or licensed by the state. Only true competition can restore sanity to the US medical system. And that means ending the war on Big Pharma’s competition.
The last straw for me was Julie’s last days, as I agonized over when her suffering should be ended. She did not want to be kept alive if she was not reasonably expected to regain consciousness. That was her wish. But rather than simply considering what was good for her, I had to be distracted by the consideration of how much Prison time would result for me, when I carried out her wishes. The fact that our “rulers”, who fancy themselves our owners, had the unmitigated gall to insert themselves into this intensely personal decision was when I realized that they were too ignorant and too arrogant to ever be permitted to make decisions for others. And it was this which led to my determination that nobody was fit to wield such power.