Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a letter to a pro-marijuana constituent last month that surfaced on Grass City today. For advocates of marijuana, it's a glimpse into why some people might be against legalization.
"I have serious concerns about proposals to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes," says McConnell's letter. A synthetic THC is currently available for HIV, he mentions, but moreover, McConnell doesn't like that proposals to legalize marijuana don't follow the "scientific processes of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."
If you'd like some good information as to why Marinol (the pill-form synthetic THC that McConnell is mentioning) is not the best option, check out The Weed Blog's article on the McConnell letter. Most notably, the synthetic delta-9-tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC), is one of the compounds that has therapeutic benefits in marijuana. "However," notes The Weed Blog, "several other cannabinoids available in cannabis — in addition to naturally occurring terpenoids (oils) and flavonoids (phenols) — have also been clinically demonstrated to possess therapeutic utility."
The element that is both amusing and terrifying marijuana advocates the most, however, is McConnell's marijuana equals death statement, found in his discussion of Barney Frank's States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act. "Because of the harm that substances like marijuana and other narcotics pose to our society," says McConnell, "I have concerns about this legislation. The detrimental effects of drugs have been well documented: short-term memory loss, loss of core motor functions, heightened risk of lung disease, and even death."
Though McConnell doesn't specifically say that marijuana itself is killing people, it's a common tactic for politicians to lump-together marijuana, a drug that has therapeutic and medical uses (though not according to the federal government!) with other more harmful and dangerous narcotics (ironically deemed more safe by the government's scheduling system).
The Huffington Post confirms that McConnell wasn't suggesting that marijuana itself leads to death. "McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said McConnell was just making the case that drugs in general have detrimental effects," notes Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery.
If nothing else, marijuana advocates are getting a glimpse into the kind of resistance they're up against.