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Cannabis Media Coverage
December, 1996

U.S. Hypocrisy on Pot
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
November 21, 1996


DISCLOSURES THAT the federal government has been in the medical marijuana business for 20 years point up the hypocrisy of the Clinton administration's overblown opposition to Proposition 215, California's voter-approved version of the federal program.

Even while drug czar Barry McCaffrey was railing against the vote as a "tremendous tragedy'' and blasting the idea of medical marijuana as a "cruel hoax that sounds more like something out of a Cheech and Chong show,'' other federal employees were overseeing a "compassionate use'' program in which the U.S. government supplies pot to qualifying patients. According to an Associated Press story, the government program has been in effect since the 1970s.

People suffering from cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and rare genetic diseases are given marijuana for the purpose of controlling nausea and muscle spasms, easing eye pressure and pain and stimulating appetites. The program was discontinued for new enrollees in 1992.

For two decades, the government was quite comfortable with the thought of marijuana as a palliative for the effects of a number of diseases. Such a conclusion makes McCaffrey's criticism of Proposition 215 as a "cruel hoax'' ring a little hollow.