Medical marijuana is a popular issue. Medical marijuana ballot initiatives have passed in every state that has voted on them.
So far, three state legislatures -- Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont -- have had the courage to do this without a drive from the voters.
This is not a partisan issue; it is a compassion issue.
Many otherwise illegal substances, such as cocaine and morphine, can legally be prescribed by doctors. The same should be true for marijuana.
Many of the legal alternatives proposed by opponents of medical marijuana are too expensive, too addictive, and have too many side effects to be good medicine for all patients.
Chemotherapy patients who are too nauseated to eat or swallow a pill should not have to fear arrest if they -- and their doctors -- find that smoking marijuana is the most effective means of treating their symptoms.
Ultimately, the decision of what medicine is best for an illness should be left up to the patient and the doctor, not to the government.
When they have their doctors' approval, patients should be able to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest and imprisonment. They should also be able to rely on a safe supply of marijuana, without having to resort to the dangerous illegal market.
Our state government should use tax money to prosecute violent crime, not punish medical marijuana users.
For all of these reasons, the legislature should enact laws that protect patients from arrest and imprisonment.