Marijuana continues to be a hot topic in the news. At the time of this writing (July, 2005), The Seattle Times has published numerous stories about the “green plant” and controversies surrounding its use and potential for abuse. Many featured articles described the debate about medical marijuana and the US Supreme Court's recent decision that federal drug charges can be applied to users and distributors of marijuana even in those states that passed local laws approving cannabis use as a treatment for several disorders (e.g., reduction of nausea associated with chemotherapy, appetite enhancement in the treatment of AIDS, lowering intra-ocular pressure in the treatment of glaucoma, and so on). As Washington is one of the states that voted to approve the medical use of marijuana, press coverage has been sympathetic to the plight of patients who may now be denied access to the healing herb. Based on this press coverage, most readers (as judged by letters to the Editor of the Seattle Times) were outraged by the Supreme Court decision, given the evidence that so many patients reported beneficial effects from smoking pot.
Other stories about marijuana that have been covered in the local press express criticism and concern over its use. Here in the Pacific Northwest, public officials have expressed outrage about the distribution of potent marijuana that has been smuggled into Washington and adjoining states from our Canadian neighbors to the north.