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Home Page Contents Congressional Record (Page 7723) Cached
15 September 1998
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL), a real doctor.
(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
1998 Ron Paul 100:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I am a physician, I am a parent and I am a grandparent, and I am convinced that drugs are a very, very serious problem in this country, not only the illegal ones, but the legal ones as well. Just last year, 106,000 people died from the legal use of drugs. We are drug dependent, on the illegal drugs and on the legal tranquilizers. That is a major problem.
1998 Ron Paul 100:2
But I have also concluded that the war on drugs is a failed war and that we should be doing something else. I might point out that the argument for the use of marijuana in medicine is not for pain. To say that it has not relieved pain is not what this is about. Marijuana has been used by cancer patients who have been receiving chemotherapy who have intractable nausea. It is the only thing they have found that has allowed them to eat, and so many cancer patients die from malnutrition. The same is true about an AIDS patient. So this is a debate on compassion, as well as legality.
1998 Ron Paul 100:3
But the way we are going about this is wrong. I am rather surprised in our side of the aisle that champions limited government and States rights, that they use the FDAs ability to regulate nicotine as an excuse and the legal loophole for the Federal Government to be involved in marijuana. I might remind them that 80 years ago when this country decided that we should not have alcohol, they did not come to the Congress and ask for a law. They asked for a constitutional amendment realizing the Congress had no authority to regulate alcohol. Today we have forgotten about that. Many of my colleagues might not know or remember that the first attack on the medicinal use of marijuana occurred under the hero of the left, F.D.R., in 1937. Prior to 1937, marijuana was used medicinally, and it was used with only local control.
1998 Ron Paul 100:4
The Federal controls on illicit drugs has not worked and it is not working when it comes to marijuana. Once again, we have States saying, just allow the physician the option to give some of these people some marijuana. Possibly it will help. I think the jury is still out about how useful it is. But for us to close it down and say one cannot, and deny some comfort to a dying patient, I do not think this is very compassionate one way or the other. The war on drugs has been going on now for several decades. We have spent over $200 billion. There is no evidence to show that there is less drug usage in this country.
1998 Ron Paul 100:5
I have a program designed, which I cannot present here, that will change our policy and attack the drugs in a much different way.
1998 Ron Paul 100:1 We are drug dependent probably should be hyphenated: We are drug-dependent.