Thirty or so years ago, cancer claimed the life of one of my favorite aunts.
Aunt Dorothy was a delightful Oklahoma born and bred woman who migrated in the 1950s to suburban San Francisco, where she and my grocer uncle lived in the coolest little house overlooking the Pacific.
Her death was agonizing. The treatments not only failed to arrest the cancer, but also made her incredibly nauseous. In a desperate quest to improve her quality of life, her family embraced the only thing that provided relief: marijuana.
Aunt Dorothy was a devoted Baptist and a regular church-goer, a full-fledged member of the Greatest Generation — hardly the pot-using, Summer of Love stereotype.
I never asked how her family acquired the contraband. I only know that she didn’t smoke it. Her family would mix the pot in butter and spread it on crackers, about the only thing that calmed her retching.
What Aunt Dorothy and her family did was against the law. It still is today — at least in Oklahoma. And that begs a serious question: Why?
Why is it legal to buy other potentially addictive agents like alcohol and tobacco at the corner market, but not marijuana? Why are doctors prescribing more narcotics than ever, but prevented from deploying marijuana as a treatment?