Iowans for Medical Marijuana
Post Office Box 4091 • Des Moines, Iowa 50333 • 515-288-5798

January 20, 1997


Charles Grassley
135 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510


Dear Senator Grassley,

        This letter is in response to your letter of October 30, 1996, in which I found you to be extremely misinformed.  It’s difficult for me to believe that you really know so little about marijuana that you would refer to it as a "dangerous" drug.  As I cannot say what motives you might have in spreading such misinformation, I’ll have to assume that you are acting in good faith, but I find this shocking and disheartening.

        The reason for my shock and dismay is that you are quoting from sources that contradict everything you are saying.  For example, The Lancet, which you recommend as a source of information on this topic, wrote in an editorial on November 11, 1995 (Vol. 346, p. 1241), "The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health."  A copy in enclosed.

        The Lancet not only read the studies to which you refer, they published them.  Still, the editors of The Lancet came to an entirely different conclusion than you did.  I have to believe that the editors of a medical journal would know more about the subject than you.  The Lancet concluded that, "Sooner or later politicians will have to stop running scared and address the evidence: cannabis per se is not a hazard to society but driving it further underground may well be." Id.

        To add to the conclusion of The Lancet, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s own administrative law judge found that, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."  DEA Docket No. 86-22, Sept. 6, 1988, pp. 58-59.  This was after taking extensive documentary and verbal testimony.  Am I to believe that you’ve done a more thorough job of investigating the facts?

        I’ve also included a letter from the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences regarding your claim that, "There have been over 12,000 published scientific studies of marijuana, none of which have shown smoking marijuana to be a safe or effective medicine for the treatment of any condition."  The Research Institute says it has never broken down that figure into positive/negative papers.  You apparently don’t care about that, as the truth seems to be an inconsequential concern of yours.

        If you don’t do something to remedy the situation that makes criminals out of sick people who use marijuana for medical reasons, you are nothing but a criminal yourself.  The very idea that you would support jailing sick people who turn to marijuana when nothing else works is repulsive to anyone with any sense of morals.  Your argument that marijuana is not a good medicine conveniently side-steps this travesty.  I honestly don’t know how you can live with yourself.

        As the voters in California and Arizona have recently shown, the public is wising up to this issue.  Stop jailing medical patients for using marijuana!  Enough people claim that it has medical utility to warrant further investigation.  However, that is no excuse to keep jailing medical patients while that investigation continues.  The policies you support would be what we would expect from a Nazi Germany, not the United States.

        Thank you very much.



Carl E. Olsen