THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Easing our way to medical marijuana is humane, not cynical

August 26, 2011

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RE “MARIJUANA genome: Fighting cancer, dude’’ (Editorial, Aug. 20): Rarely mentioned in the debate over the legal status of this plant, valued since the dawn of agriculture for its nutritious seeds, durable fiber, medicinal qualities, and, yes, its ability to alter consciousness, are the constitutional limits on the power of the state.

The federal and state prohibition of cannabis exceeds those limits. Such unconstitutional laws do not bind in conscience, though they may be obeyed out of fear.

It is humane, not cynical, to seek to free those who would use it as medicine from the dangers of the black market on our way to constitutionally reasonable regulation of the cultivation and commerce in cannabis.

Steven S. Epstein
Georgetown
The writer is a founder of the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition and a member of its board of directors.