Editorial: Supreme Court should say ‘yes’ to medical marijuana

For the first time, the Supreme Court is questioning whether the federal government can prosecute patients who smoke pot on doctor’s orders.

This is a huge milestone in the fight for medicinal marijuana.

It seems as if a drug that has few side effects and much efficiency (which is not common in the pharmaceutical industry) should not be at the center of such controversy.

The benefits of medicinal marijuana far outweigh its downfalls.

Angel Raich, a California woman who says pot is her only relief from the pain of a brain tumor, said nothing has helped her as much as marijuana has.

There are many success stories like Raich’s, and she is at the center of this controversy, fighting so that others may have the help that she has been afforded.

But these may all be squelched depending on which way the balanced Supreme Court may swing.

Raich hopes that the illness of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist will make him realize the importance of the drug in easing the pain of chemotherapy.

And more obviously, how could the president, a former cocaine addict, be so against medicinal use of the drug (even though his opinion doesn’t technically count in the decision)?

What the decision-makers must realize is that marijuana, though it is not manufactured and marketed, is a medicinal drug, just like those that spring from major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Merck.

The only difference is that it is straight from nature.

If patients can be injected and radiated with chemotherapy, a drug that may help cancer but has numerous awful side effects like baldness and nausea, why not give them a drug that has no known side effects and eases pain?

Decision-makers must think past popular culture stereotypes of marijuana as a recreational drug -` the choice of college student stoners and deadheads.

They must realize that it is a powerful drug whose chemical components can be used to heal.