Coalition for Compassionate Access Runs Full-Page New York Times Ad Urging Bush to Allow Medical Marijuana
A coalition of state legislators, medical professionals, celebrities, religious leaders and national, state and local organizations yesterday ran a full-page ad in the New York Times urging President Bush to "allow people suffering from serious illnesses like AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis to apply to the federal government for special permission to use marijuana to treat their symptoms." The ad, which lists more than 400 signatories who compose the Coalition for Compassionate Access, which sponsored the ad, includes the text of a letter that will be sent to Bush. The letter states, "Like most Americans, we believe that seriously ill people should not be subject to arrest and imprisonment for using medical marijuana with their doctors' approval. ... These patients should not be treated like criminals." The letter cites a 1999 Institute of Medicine report on marijuana, which concluded that "there are some limited circumstances in which we recommend smoking marijuana for medical uses" and asked the federal government to allow medical marijuana on a "case-by-case basis." The letter is signed by "prominent citizens" such as former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, television news anchors Walter Cronkite and Hugh Downs and medical author Dr. Andrew Weil, as well as several HIV/AIDS organizations, including the National Association of People With AIDS, Being Alive HIV/AIDS Services, the New York City AIDS Housing Network and the Whitman-Walker AIDS Clinic (Coalition for Compassionate Access ad, 3/6). The ad is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.