Pubdate: Tue, 06 Dec 2005
Source: Modesto Bee, The (CA)
Copyright: 2005 The Modesto Bee
Author: Bruce Mirken


The letter 'Planners suckered by compassion' (Nov. 29) misstated
several key facts about medical marijuana and about the Marijuana
Policy Project. Our purpose is not 'to legalize all drugs.' We have no
position on any substance other than marijuana.

Smoking a marijuana cigarette is not 'the same as smoking 10 tobacco
cigarettes.' Unlike tobacco, marijuana has never been shown to
increase rates of lung cancer or emphysema or to increase one's risk
of death.

Indeed, in a 60,000-patient study done at Kaiser Permanente, marijuana
smokers who didn't smoke tobacco had a lower rate of lung cancer than
nonsmokers. Marijuana is a medicine, with 5,000 years of safe,
effective use documented in medical literature. That's why the
California Medical Association, American Public Health Association,
American Academy of Family Physicians, American Nurses Association and
dozens of other medical and public health organizations have stated
that marijuana can have therapeutic value when used under medical
supervision. As for the 'message to young people,' use of marijuana by
California teens has dropped dramatically since Proposition 215 passed
in 1996. What kind of message do we send to our kids by depriving the
sick and suffering of relief?


director of communications, Marijuana Policy Project

San Francisco 
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