Press Release  | 10/12/2004

Victim of Heather Wilson

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Vietnam Veteran Tells Story of Battle with Cancer and Living in Fear of Arrest
Radio Ad to Run on Top Stations Until Election Day

Santa Fe, NM -- A moving new ad featuring the true story of a Vietnam veteran suffering from cancer begins airing in New Mexico's First Congressional District this week. The man, whose name is being withheld at his request because he fears prosecution, began using medical marijuana to control pain, improve his appetite, and gain weight. "Marijuana has helped me...; and I feel better than I have since I got sick. But I'm living in fear," reads a voice actor.

"Heather Wilson has voted to send sick patients like me to prison," reads the actor, "even in states where medical marijuana use is legal. Heather Wilson is campaigning on her compassion, but she isn't showing any compassion for patients like me." Earlier this year, Congresswoman Wilson voted against an amendment to the Commerce-Justice-State spending bill that would have prohibited the Justice Department from spending any money on arresting or prosecuting medical marijuana patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment would not have prevented the Justice Department from arresting people using, growing, or selling marijuana for recreational use, or from arresting medical marijuana patients in the states that have not approved the drug for this use. It simply prevented the federal government from arresting cancer, AIDS and MS patients that use marijuana for medical reasons in states that have adopted medical marijuana laws.

Numerous published studies suggest that marijuana has medical value in treating patients with serious illnesses such as AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and chronic pain. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine, in the most comprehensive study of medical marijuana's efficacy, concluded that, "Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety . . . all can be mitigated by marijuana."

A statewide poll of likely voters in New Mexico taken in March 2001 showed that four out of five (78%) New Mexicans support making medical marijuana available to terminally ill patients.

"This issue is about patients living with chronic or terminal diseases, who are living in fear of being prosecuted by federal agents even though their states have authorized the use of medical marijuana. Voters need to know that Congresswoman Wilson voted against legislation that would have protected those patients," said Reena Szczepanski, Director of the Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico.

The ad will reach approximately 242,000 people in central New Mexico, including Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Belen, Los Lunas, and Socorro.

To receive a copy of the ad, or to contact medical marijuana experts and patients, contact the Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico at (505) 983-3277.

To listen to the ad in English or Spanish (requires real media).


Reena Szczepanski at (505) 699-0798

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