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Hosted by Drug Sense

IMMLY Advisory Board Member Jim Miller responds to Wisconsin Medical Society president Paul Wertsch 

On Thursday January 29, 2004, the Wisconsin State Journal published three letters to the editor in response to the State Journal editorial of January 25, "Legalize Pain Relief for Cancer Patients."

Of the three letters, two were supportive of medical marijuana. One was from IMMLY Founder Jacki Rickert and IMMLY director of communications Gary Storck: "Support Bill Provide Pain Relief." The other was from a former police officer and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Howard J. Wooldridge, "Issue ID Cards For Legal Marijuana."

The third letter was from Paul Wertsch, the president of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin. While giving the illusion of support, Mr. Wertsch's letter actually called usage of medical marijuana "at this time premature." Read Wertsch's letter here: "Marijuana Research Finds Support."

Jim Miller then responded, but the Wisconsin State Journal did not choose to publish Jim's letter, so we have web-published it below.

From: <>
To: <wsjopine@madison.com>
Subject: Jan. 29 LTE: Marijuana Research Finds Support
Date: Friday, January 30, 2004 7:54 PM

It was interesting to read how Paul Wertsch, the president of the Wisconsin Medical Society, tried to ease the guilt of Wisconsin doctors who have not done enough for medical marijuana patients in his Jan. 29 letter "Marijuana Research Finds Support."

He says that the medical community has urged the federal government to do clinical testing of marijuana to determine it's efficacy for patients of serious illness such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and AIDS. Mr. Wertsch does not say what the medical community did when they first found out that the federal government blew them off, or when that was. How long has their unsuccessful "urging" been going on?

The Journal of the American Medical Association ran an article in their news section in 1979 titled "Marijuana may lessen MS spasticity." I found out about that article in 1991, and was very interested because my wife had multiple sclerosis for 19 years at that time. Mr. Wertsch contends that there are currently too many questions about medical marijuana, and to use it as medicine now would be "premature." Maybe he would have been right about that in 1979, but 25 years has passed since then, and still he is urging studies be done to prove to him what so many medical marijuana patients have been saying for so long.

My wife, Cheryl, couldn't afford to wait any longer in 1991. She weighed 86 pounds and was fading fast when she tried her first marijuana salad dressing. She found marijuana to be her most effective medicine, with the least side effects. Cheryl died June 7, 2003. I thank God every day that I didn't wait for the federal government to prove what we could so easily see was true. If we had done things Mr. Wertsch's way, Cheryl would have died in unnecessary pain, and that probably would have happened long before last year.

The choices are a lot harder for a caregiver or patient than they are for an academic. I had to get it right the first time. I'm lucky though. I don't need a second chance. Cheryl and I got it right when we needed to. For some patients that will follow Paul Wertsch's "wait and see" approach, the only thing that will be premature is their death.

Jim Miller, 
cofounder of the Multiple Sclerosis Patients Union (www.drugsense.org/mspu) <contact info> 
Updated Tuesday, April 19, 2005

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