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March 2008
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In which I once again offer to debate someone

I write a letter

Medical cannabis bill distinct from legalization

In the recent Pantagraph story about a medical cannabis bill advancing to the Illinois Senate (March 6, Page A8), Limey Nargelenas of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police complained about the appearance of patients at the hearing. “I think it’s a shame what they’re doing here. They’re using sick people here to try to legalize marijuana. I think if the Legislature wants to legalize marijuana, let’s talk about it, debate it and see if that’s what the people want.”

It’s outrageous and a sign of the sickness of special interests for Mr. Nargelenas to imply that the Senate shouldn’t be listening to patients when considering a medical bill, but instead should listen to lobbyists like him.

Let’s be clear that two very distinct and separate issues are involved here.

The first one is providing a legal means for sick people to get useful medication. Medical cannabis is a matter for patients and their doctors, plus experts such as the American College of Physicians.

If anyone should be ashamed of using sick people, it is those who would deny patients useful medicine for no other reason than to protect the funding for the war against marijuana users.

The second, separate issue is the legalization of marijuana for other purposes.

If Mr. Nargelenas is serious about wanting to debate that to talk about eliminating black market profits, finally regulating use to keep it away from kids, and finding more effective uses for the billions of taxpayer dollars spent annually than making pot profitable for criminals and gangs well then, bring it on. I’ll be happy to debate him anytime.

Pete Guither

Bloomington

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