Needless Suffering of Medical Marijuana Patient Embodies Federal-State Conflict: A Prison Extraction

Associate Member of the New York Academy of Medicine, Senior Resident Physician at Large Academic Medical Center in New York City
When I was in the graduate school portion of the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Washington in the Department of Geography, I had an opportunity to work with an intrepid defense attorney by the name of Douglas Hiatt, who brought me face-to-face with major health and human rights cases of persecuted, ill and disabled patients who were caught up in the federal-state conflict on medical marijuana. While the story I share below is from 2005, and was covered by the AP wire, it seems it is only in this age of majority support for ending the federal war on marijuana, when there is still doubt being expressed about the severity of marijuana prohibition enforcement, that people may be able to read and appreciate the full medical details of the following case. I did try to submit the write-up below to medical journals several years ago, but it seems like they were not yet willing to listen. Please lend me your ears and consider the consequences of a federal health policy built on denial of scientific fact of the medical utility of herbal cannabis. The pictures below are courtesy of John Brecher, independent photojournalist. I use the term “prison extraction” in the spirit of Dr. Paul Farmer, who used this term to describe in medical terms his efforts to free from jail local Haitian healthworkers who were swept up in politically motivated crackdowns.
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