SEATTLE (AP) — Timothy Garon's face and arms are hauntingly skeletal, but the fluid building up in his abdomen makes the 56-year-old musician look eight months pregnant.This is the legacy of the government's political war on medical marijuana. Patients are dying simply because some of our political leaders are afraid that showing compassion for the sick will lead to marijuana legalization. Healthcare and employment discrimination are the inevitable symptoms of our flawed federal policy, yet those who defend the war on patients couldn't be more oblivious to the brutal consequences of their intransigence.
His liver, ravaged by hepatitis C, is failing. Without a new one, his doctors tell him, he will be dead in days.
But Garon's been refused a spot on the transplant list, largely because he has used marijuana, even though it was legally approved for medical reasons.
Meanwhile, U.S. News & World Report covers new research aimed at developing cannabinoid-based medicines that won't produce intoxication. The very existence of this research demonstrates once again that marijuana has long been understood to have remarkable medical potential. Now that even the drug warriors have conceded that point, and the scientific community has stopped debating and initiated product development, what justification exists for continuing to persecute patients who are already using this plant to treat their own illnesses?
This controversy should be over now. Instead, patients are still dying in the war over medical marijuana and politicians are still pretending not to notice.