Cancer Patient to Appeal to SC, Demanding Right to Use Marijuana

by Medindia Content Team on  March 26, 2006 at 3:14 PM Cancer News
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Cancer Patient to Appeal to SC, Demanding Right to Use Marijuana
Every time the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on medical marijuana, concerns have been raised by justices regarding allowing terminally ill patients to use the drug to improve the symptoms and perhaps even prolong life. A federal appeals court in California would hear arguments in the recent round of legal wrangling over the issue, this week.

The so-called right to life theory claims that the use of the drug should be allowed, it is the only viable source of prolonging life or providing relief from excruciating pain, such as in cancer. This appeal would hold good only for sick patients and drug suppliers who reside in one of the 11 states that authorize use of medical marijuana. 'A victory would affect people who are very seriously ill, facing death or great physical suffering,' said Randy Barnett, a lawyer.

Angel Raich, a patient afflicted with brain tumor, uses marijuana frequently to alleviate her pain and bolster her appetite. She suffers from scoliosis (curvature of the spine), chronic nausea and other ailments. It was her case that brought the up the marijuana issue back to the surface. 'She'd probably be dead without marijuana,' remarked Dr. Frank Lucido, her doctor. He has recommended nearly 3000 cancer patient to use the controversial drug.

However officials belonging to the Bush administration have declined the drug use, saying that the lawsuit is without merit. 'There is no fundamental right to distribute, cultivate or possess marijuana,' said Mark Quinlivan, Assistant U.S. Attorney, the government's lead medical marijuana attorney, wrote to the appeals court.

The use of medical marijuana following a doctor's recommendation was first approved in California, in the year 1996. Since then, ten other countries have approved use of the drug. Despite the approval of California voters approving medical use of the drug, Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Cooperative was banned against supply of the drug to Raich in 2001.

The Supreme Court, in last June had passed a ruling stating that medical marijuana users and suppliers would be prosecuted by the federal government. In fact, some drug users and drug suppliers have been arrested and sporadic raids conducted in several different states have been reported.

This condition has prompted Barnett, her lawyer to demand right to use an illegal drug to keep a sick patient alive and relieve torturous pain. Even if the appeal were to be approved, a stop on pot club raids is unlikely. The cancer patient said that she would continue to use the drug despite the outcome of the case.

'I am going to keep doing this until they stop me because this is not a medical cannabis case but a right to life case. The federal government can say who can live and who can die if I lose in the Supreme Court,' she concluded.

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I have been suffering from fibromyalgia since the late sixties, although the diagnosis was not official until 94. The pain and immobility became increasingly worse and worse through today. I have been treated by licensed doctors all that time taking prescription pain killer as prescribed by the attending physician. A couple of years ago, I refused any further pain medication from my doctor and began, reluctantly, smoking marijuana on occasion which I found had a massive influence on my pain tolerance. I began sleeping through the night and having much more energy the following day. After a period of time, I confided in my pastural friends who concinced me to give that up. After a short time, I found my tolerance to pain was reduced significantly. I no longer had a source for marijuana so I decided to try booze. Of course it worked, but it took massive amounts to give me relief and left me in worse shape at the end than before I drank. My doctor told me that they could no longer give me narcotics until I tested free of marijuana for three months. Oh, well! I guess I'll never have those drugs or alcohol as long as I can get the "weed".

Until the legislators develope compasion and empathy, I am resigned to break the law and take the chance on losing my income. In the meantime I will be trying to find a way to move where the my treatment is legal.


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