Dying Woman Loses Appeal on Marijuana as Medication
by Jesse McKinley (NYT 15 March 2007)
“A federal appeals court ruled that the woman using marijuana was not immune from federal prosecution simply because of her condition.”
The woman, Angel McClary Raich, says she uses marijuana on doctors recommendation to treat an inoperable brain tumor and a battery of other serious ailments. Ms. Raich, 41, asserts that the drug effectively keeps her alive, by stimulating appetite and relieving pain, in a way that prescription drugs do not.
What would they do? Sentence her to life in prison? It’s not like she’s going to become a crack addict or a stoner like Tommy Chong’s famous character. All she wants is a little relief from her pain and suffering in the final moments of her life. Can’t we at least give her that? What harm is there in it? From what I read in the article, it appears that the appeals court strictly interpreted the federal statute and, in that sense, they may be right. That being the case, the law needs to be changed.
Why isn’t anyone in America allowed to die with dignity? Why must every terminal patient (and their families) in this country be forced to endure incredible pain and hardship? There is nothing heroic or dignified in dying a slow, agonizing, and painful death. I’m sure, given the option, most people would want to avoid dying in that manner and would also prefer not to put their loved ones through the agony of watching them die that way. I know that would be my choice.
I’m in favor of medicinal marijuana, especially for terminally ill patients. Let them have the chance to find a little comfort in the last days of their suffering. If toking on a joint brings them some relief and peace in their final moments, then who is it hurting? Maybe terminally ill patients who may benefit from medicinal marijuana should be given government grown pot so no drug dealers profit from it. It can no longer be denied that marijuana has legitimate medical uses; 11 states already recognize that its uses are more than recreational. It’s time for the federal government stop bogarting that joint and change the laws to allow medicinal use, at least for certain terminally ill patients.
If, when my time comes, smoking a doobie brings me peace and relieves my pain, then that’s what I want. I wish to die with as much dignity and as little pain as humanly possible. All I ask is that the government respect my dying wishes and stay away from my hospital bed.
I’ve previously commented about medicinal marijuana and dying with dignity: Medicinal Marijuana, For What It’s Worth, 25 February 2006