The Des Moines Register
Post Office Box 957, Des Moines, Iowa 50304
Phone: 515-284-8000 / Fax: 515-286-2504

Page 8A, The Des Moines Register, Monday, November 11, 1996

The Register's Editorials

Enlightened marijuana votes

California, Arizona show sense
the federal goverment lacks.

        Should cancer victims be denied treatment with a drug that is easily purchased on the street?
        Voters in Arizona and California think the drug -- marijuana -- should be available by prescription. Arizona would add heroin to the prescription list. But U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno warns that use of such drugs still violates federal law, and that the law will still be enforced.
        The federal law is indefensible.
        Pharmacies are full of drugs from the "controlled substances" list that can cause addiction and, if misused, threaten the health of users. But they are essential in treating intractable pain. Outlawing use of certain drugs for any purpose simply because they are favorites on the illegal market means we are letting street criminals dictate our drug policy, while forcing some who suffer desperate illnesses to pay the price.
        Arizona and California have shown an enlightenment that the rest of the nation should emulate.