John Schwarz, a theoretical physics professor at the California Institute of Technology and a father of string theory, is scheduled to be the headline speaker for an upcoming Americans for Safe Access medical marijuana conference in Washington D.C.
Last year Dr. Schwarz wrote an op-ed in The Huffington Post on the subject of medical cannabis. ”Being a physicist, not a physician, I don’t usually comment on issues in medical science,” he said. “But I can no longer remain silent while people in my family and profession run the risk of federal arrest so that they can follow the recommendations of their doctors. Medical marijuana offers relief to people I care about, yet it remains illegal in the view of the United States government.
“Aside from my personal stake in this issue, my professional experience has led me to ask the most obvious question a scientist could ask: Why hasn’t the long-running controversy over medical marijuana been resolved using science?”
The doctor’s “personal stake in this issue” is his wife, Patricia. She was diagnosed with a bladder condition in 1995 and has found medical marijuana to be a great relief in terms of her pain management.
It is human nature for things to be quite abstract in our mind until someone we care about is faced with an issue. Once things are brought home, so to speak, we see them in a much clearer light.
“The way they’re treating science here is fundamentally wrong,” said Patricia Schwarz, who like her husband holds a doctorate in physics. “This is not how it should work in an evidence-based society. You can’t live in a world you wish was true.”
The upcoming conference, organized by ASA, will run from February 22nd to the 25th and will bring advocates from all over the country to lobby their Congressional representatives on the issue of medical cannabis.
“We wanted to get on the radar of Congress and this administration early,” explained Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access.
Whether or not the administration cares is one thing, but elected officials who have to face the voters back home are more liable to be open-minded on a popular issue. There is no reason sick people shouldn’t have the option of medical cannabis, and change on the federal level is going to have to come from the U.S. Congress.
“Change” and “U.S. Congress” usually don’t go together, but if there is one thing politicians are good at, it’s seeing the prevailing winds on an issue and coming around to support it, even if they take a long time to do it.
Change must happen, and the sooner the better.
- Joe Klare