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Letter: Whip out the passage pen

Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

For some time now, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has been pondering whether to sign the bill making Illinois the 19th state to legalize marijuana for relief of chronic pain.

If politics weren’t a factor – Quinn is up for re-election next year – the bill would already be law, and thousands of chronically pained Illinoisans would step out from the shadows of illegal marijuana use to relieve their pain legally. However, Quinn, like he did with his March 9, 2011, signing of the Illinois death penalty ban, doesn’t want to appear too eager to legalize a federally banned substance and rile up conservatives who deem it a “gateway” drug to depravity and destruction of the Illinois nuclear family.

Bunk. More people become addicted to – and even die from – abuse of prescription drugs, such as the highly addictive pain drug Oxycontin, in a week than have ever been harmed by marijuana. These legal prescription drugs are loaded with horrible side effects that take up half of the million-dollar commercials hawking them. They drain the finances of the chronically and terminally ill, while they degrade their health, all to make greedy rich men and women masquerading as the Titans of Big Pharma greedier and richer. 

Arguments that medical marijuana will cause these folks to graduate to cocaine or heroin would be hilarious if they weren’t so counterproductive to providing better pain treatment to people in need.

One of the most ludicrous comments from opponents of the bill came from Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, who claimed we must follow the federal government model for regulating marijuana, which amounts to a 76-year-long ban that has been an utter failure of a sensible drug policy. Millions of folks have clogged up our jails and had their lives ruined over this essentially victimless crime. What’s hilarious is that while Republicans lambast every vestige of federal governance that actually helps people, Barickman praises one of the more truly dysfunctional aspects of federal rule. 

Come on, governor, whip out your passage pen, sign the bill and let the pain relief begin. 

Walt Zlotow

Glen Ellyn 

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