Pubdate: Fri, 28 Feb 2003
Source: Ocean County Observer (NJ)
Copyright: 2003 Ocean County Observer
Author: FREDERICK DIMARIA, JR. Chairman, National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Law New Jersey Chapter


I was aghast to read Terrence Farley's insulting letter denouncing and 
belittling the legitimate efficacy of marijuana as medicine.

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to stomach the misleading and 
untruthful "statistics" that drug-enforcement officials irresponsibly spew 
in order to protect their jobs, while at the same time, so many sick and 
dying patients, who could immensely benefit from medicinal marijuana, are 
wrongfully deprived of its use. Farley, if he even believes his own words, 
needs an updated education in the science behind medicinal marijuana and a 
lesson in human compassion.

I find it highly disconcerting that, in this difficult time of terrorism 
and war, our tax dollars and law-enforcement resources are wasted by public 
officials, such as Farley, in an attempt to vilify the use of medicinal 
marijuana by sick and dying people.

It strikes me as odd that while morphine patch, Prozac, alcohol and tobacco 
use is condoned by our society, Farley believes that suffering, terminally 
ill people should be deprived of access to a medicine as helpful as marijuana.

In ostensible support of his illogical position, Farley has the audacity to 
propose numerous statements, which he casually refers to as "true facts," 
which are either overwhelmingly misleading, profoundly erroneous or both.

Conveniently, not one of Farley's misleading statements is backed up by 
citing a relevant study.

Perhaps this is because not one of his accusations is relevantly supported 
by modern science.

Unfortunately, Farley has fallen prey to his own ignorance and, whether he 
is aware of it or not, he has merely succeeded in perpetuating common 
outdated myths and ridiculous overstatements about marijuana, to the great 
chagrin and detriment of the majority who truly know better.

The truth is, marijuana is not evil, but an extremely safe and useful 
medicine. In many cases, marijuana is the only medicine that can provide 
relief to certain sick and dying patients.

Its safety and efficacy in the treatment of afflictions such as cancer, 
AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis has been routinely documented and 
bolstered by numerous studies. Research also suggests that marijuana may 
protect against certain types of malignant tumors and has a neuroprotective 

Farley is clearly unfamiliar with the magnitude of the results of these 
recent studies and has attempted to skirt over and minimize their findings.

I suggest that anyone who wishes to know the truth fully review, among 
others, the 2002 study by the Canadian Special Senate Committee on Illegal 
Drugs, the 1999 and 1982 studies by the National Academy of Sciences, 
Institute of Medicine and the 1998 study by the House of Lords Select 
Committee on Science and Technology, all of which are government-sponsored 
research that has come to the scientific conclusion that marijuana is an 
important and useful medicine.

Take for instance, the Canadian Senate's Special Committee 2002 study, 
whose authors concluded, "There are clear indications of the therapeutic 
benefits of marijuana in the following conditions: analgesic for chronic 
pain; antispasm for multiple sclerosis; anticonvulsive for epilepsy; 
antiemetic for chemotherapy; and appetite stimulant for cachexia."

Additionally, marijuana is safe. Almost all drugs, including legal and 
prescription drugs, pose a greater threat to individual health than 
marijuana. According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year 
approximately 46,000 people die from alcohol-induced deaths -- not 
including motor vehicle fatalities -- and more than 440,000 die from 
tobacco smoking. Compare the above with marijuana, which is non-toxic, 
cannot cause death by overdose and has not been attributed to any recorded 
cases of fatalities. See the Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research 
Centre 1994 study.

It should be abundantly clear that, after reviewing the science behind 
medicinal marijuana, Farley's contentions stem from his own personal biases 
and are not commensurate with reality.

In any case, regardless of Farley's ignorant and heartless position, the 
majority of the modern world has come to realize that the recognition of 
medicinal marijuana is an important advance in medicine.

Canada, the United Kingdom and Portugal recently have decriminalized 
marijuana as a result of the above studies.

In the United States, so far, nine states have legalized medicinal 
marijuana, and the number is constantly growing.

In our state, the New Jersey Nursing Association recently adopted a 
resolution calling for the legalization of medicinal marijuana.

An October, 2002 CNN/Time magazine poll revealed that a full 80 percent of 
Americans believe marijuana should be available to sick people who would 
benefit from its use. It is obvious that Farley is completely out of touch 
with the vast majority, which is quite egregious, given his position of 
power and influence.

As a public official, Farley should focus his attention on violent 
activities that actually harm society, and not on sick and dying patients 
who are simply attempting to alleviate their profound suffering.

I would relish an opportunity to publicly debate this issue with Mr. Farley 
and I urge anyone who wishes to learn more to contact me.

FREDERICK DIMARIA, JR. Chairman, National Organization for the Reform of 
Marijuana Law New Jersey Chapter
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