Vail Daily letter: Anti-pot propaganda |

Vail Daily letter: Anti-pot propaganda

Robert F. Hickey
Vail, CO, Colorado

Recent discussions across the country, including in this paper, by opponents of medical marijuana have been based on ignorance and misinformation. Unfortunately, this includes Buddy Sims’ letter published on Tuesday.

First, from a professional perspective, let me say that in treating thousands of people who have become victims of their use of alcohol and other drugs since 1970, I have never treated a marijuana addict. I have never been called to an emergency room to treat an out-of-control or violent marijuana user. I have never completed a court-ordered evaluation for a defendant who was accused of domestic violence as a result of marijuana use. I have never heard of five or six law enforcement officers being needed to tackle, control or otherwise subdue a crazed marijuana user.

Marijuana is not a narcotic! That is a law enforcement characterization, not a medical, biological or chemical classification.

Contrary to quotes in Mr. Sims’ letter by Kevin Sabet, special adviser, Office of National Drug Control Policy, marijuana is not a dangerous drug which causes documented health and social problems.

Where is the documentation? The only documentation of social problems are those which arise from the prohibition of marijuana and the 750,000 subsequent arrests for possession of small amounts of the plant each year.

The social problems come as a result of the billions of dollars spent each year by law enforcement agencies across the country.

The social problems come from the inequities of law enforcement against minorities in the country. African-Americans are five to 10 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, yet on a per capita basis, whites use marijuana in greater numbers than all minorities. As Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP said recently, ” … being caught up in the criminal justice system does more harm to young people than marijuana itself.”

And by what authority does Sabet dictate that marijuana “should not be subject to voter approval for its use”?

In prohibiting and prosecuting marijuana possession, the so-called cure has become exponentially more dangerous than the disease! The war on marijuana has cost $4 trillion since June 15, 1971, to say nothing of the costs in terms of violations of civil rights and human rights. In addition, it has given rise to the private prison industry and the vile, socially irresponsible, multi-billion dollar Corrections Corporation of


Second, from a personal perspective, I had the experience of going through hemodialysis treatments four to five times a week for just more than five years.

For some dialysis patients, the treatments cause severe nausea and vomiting. I was fortunate in that I rarely had to contend with such symptoms.

However, for the dozens of fellow patients I met, marijuana was the only medication that gave them any level of relief.

Mr. Sims, I hope you never contract an illness which would require you to have to look for relief that others would try to deny you.

Robert F. Hickey


Support Local Journalism