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NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR
THE REFORM OF MARIJUANA LAWS
1001 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036
TEL 202-483-5500 * FAX 202-483-0057
SPECIAL REPORT * * * SPECIAL REPORT * * * SPECIAL REPORT
December 16, 1994
William F. Buckley, Jr.,
Writes of His Sister's Cancer Chemotherapy
and Her Need for Medical Marijuana
In his syndicated column distributed on December 16, William
F. Buckley, Jr., the conservative author and talk show host,
writes about his younger sister's cancer and her need for medical
access to marijuana "because she is undergoing an agonizing
jolt of chemotherapy."
To the question, "How does she know cannabis would help her?" Buckley responds - "Dumb question. A) She knows, or knows of, people who have had relief from the wretchedness she suffers from, from a puff or two of marijuana; and B) so what if it did not work? ... What are we afraid of, that while recovering from cancer and taking a marijuana cigarette she will become a crack addict?"
One of the persons she knows who has written about his use of cannabis for chemotherapy is Richard Brookhiser, a senior editor of Buckley's National Review magazine. As Buckley notes, Brookhiser found that it takes only a one or two puffs on a marijuana cigarette to stop immediately -- the nausea of chemotherapy. It usually works, but if it does not, there are no side effects. In contrast, the very expensive anti-nausea pharmaceutical Zofran causes headaches in as many as 40% of those who use it and can cause liver damage, etc. Yet the narcocracy cites Zofran as the reason that there is no need for medical marijuana.
Buckley also writes of his frustration in not knowing where to buy marijuana himself in New York City ... where it is almost ubiquitous. This reflects one of the sad ironies of people in his situation: the older a person is, the harder it is to find marijuana. The prohibition that is justified on the grounds that it protects children actually makes it most difficult for adults, and especially for the ill, to find marijuana when they need it most.
In any other context it might be amusing to think of someone as recognizable as Buckley lurking around Washington Square trying to "score" a few dollars worth of pot. He makes light of this problem, but it really is not feasible for someone in his position to do what he otherwise would do.
One assumes that at least after this column is published - the Buckleys will eventually get marijuana, but what of the hundreds of thousands of others? He laments that "thinking on the subject is so far gone in putrefaction that the simplest questions go unanswered." Actually, most of the putrefaction starts here in Washington. Surveys show that the overwhelming majority of the American people are in favor of medical access to marijuana. Newt, please note.
Buckley concludes his column by reporting that researchers in San Francisco have been ready for two years to do a study of the use of marijuana "in treating the wasting syndrome associated with AIDS, but they cannot obtain the necessary marijuana from the government." Buckley asks, "If somebody discovered that marijuana would *cure* AIDS, would the narcs still prowl the street for vendors?"
Yes. Absolutely. NORML's experience suggests that the narcs would redouble their efforts. They know that the survival of the narcocracy depends on the suppression of medical marijuana. This is no petty crime that the narcs are covering up ... as anyone who has endured chemotherapy, or AIDS, or so much other suffering, would tell us, if they did not have to live and often die in fear.
[Mr. Buckley's column is distributed by Universal press Syndicate 816-932-6600.]
-- END --
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