Pubdate: Thu, 13 Mar 2003
Source: Ocean County Observer (NJ)
Page: A14:
Copyright: 2003 Ocean County Observer
Author: Jim Miller


The recent letter to the Observer from Terrence P. Farley, director of the 
Ocean County Narcotics Strike Force, was most appropriately titled, 
"Misinformation abounds on medical marijuana." What he wrote was indeed 
full of misinformation, not to mention half-truths and unsubstantiated claims.

Farley seemed especially unnerved because recently someone with 26 years 
experience as a policeman wrote to the Observer supporting medical 
marijuana. He noted that Nelson Randolph Jr. was writing in support of my 
efforts to help my wife through the final stages of her 32 year battle with 
multiple sclerosis, including occasionally being able to honor Cheryl's 
requests for marijuana butter and salad dressing for her pain and 
spasticity. Farley then proceeded to say Cheryl's public support of medical 
marijuana did "great harm to the public." He ended his letter by saying 
arguments for medical marijuana rights from people like Cheryl have "been a 
hoax to try to get public support for legalized drugs."

I read his letter to Cheryl even though I was afraid Farley's comments 
might hurt her. I asked Cheryl how she felt about the things said about us 
and she said that she was hurt that anybody would accuse her of being a 
dangerous hoax.

The misinformation and misdirection that Farley perpetuates is too 
voluminous for me to be able to respond to all of it. That would best be 
accomplished in a public debate forum that Farley refuses to have. His most 
blatant violations of accuracy were as follows.

He says, "We are constantly being told that marijuana cures a number of 
serious illnesses." False. Patients have never said marijuana is a cure for 
any disease. They do, however, tell of marijuana relieving some of the 
debilitating symptoms of their diseases.

He talks of ongoing research by the Institute of Medicine that was in fact 
completed more than four years ago. He claims medical marijuana advocates 
never mention that the IOM discusses the dangers of smoked marijuana even 
though he knows that Cheryl has said for 10 years that she doesn't smoke 
marijuana but consumes it in an edible form. I have read the complete IOM 
final report. It seems that Farley ignores the parts where, on page 5, it 
said, "Except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of 
marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other 
medications," and, on page 159, "For terminal patients suffering 
debilitating pain or nausea and for whom all indicated medications have 
failed to provide relief, the medical benefits of smoked marijuana might 
outweigh the harm."

Farley wrote at length about the detrimental effects of marijuana on those 
who consume it. They would be the side effects that the IOM refers to as 
within normal range for medicine. Unwanted side effects from Cheryl's legal 
medicines, however, have precipitated at least three hospital stays for her.

Farley says a prescription drug Marinol is available and contains synthetic 
marijuana. He doesn't mention that the MS Society rejects Marinol as 
medicine for any symptom of multiple sclerosis. Additionally, Marinol does 
not contain synthetic marijuana any more than an eggplant contains eggs.

As to his summation saying the "Whole medical marijuana argument is and has 
been a hoax to get public support for legalized drugs." That would mean 
that the following groups and people are partaking in such a hoax and doing 
what Farley terms a great harm to the public: the Health Departments of our 
closest allies, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia; Prime Minister Tony 
Blair; the New Jersey State Nurses Association; N.J. Rep. Rob Andrews; the 
New England Journal of Medicine; former New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne; his 
Attorney General Robert Del Tufo; and a list of others too long to mention

The most important thing Farley neglects to mention was that Phase Three 
clinical tests in England using 350 multiple sclerosis patients proved 
marijuana caused a significant reduction of their spasticity and pain, with 
verification at The results were announced three months 
ago and MS patients in England will be able to have a sublingual spray 
containing marijuana, not Marinol, available by prescription this year. MS 
patients in the United States will not. Now that is some hoax.

Jim Miller

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom