Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 2009
Source: Herald News, The (Fall River, MA)
Copyright: 2009 The Herald News
Author: Mike Meno


If Arthur T. Dean agrees that "medical questions are best determined 
by science" ("Balanced media needed in medical marijuana debate," 
Dec. 16), he should take heed of the small mountain of peer-reviewed 
scientific research that has shown medical marijuana to be a safe and 
effective treatment for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, 
HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis.

Such research has resulted in scores of esteemed health organizations 
- -- including the American College of Physicians, American Public 
Health Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of 
HIV Medicine and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society -- officially 
recognizing that marijuana has legitimate medical value.

And if Mr. Dean is worried about the number of teenagers using 
marijuana, he might consider why teen use of alcohol and tobacco have 
declined in recent years while teen use of marijuana has not.

The reason, of course, is that alcohol and tobacco are taxed, 
regulated and controlled, and their sale to underage customers 
results in harsh penalties for vendors.

Marijuana, on the other hand, is completely unregulated and easily 
accessible to teenagers for the simple reason that drug dealers do 
not check IDs.

Indeed, for the past 30 years, more than 80 percent of teenagers have 
told government surveys that marijuana is "easy to get."

If Mr. Dean wants it to be harder for teenagers to purchase and use 
marijuana, he should support laws that would tax and regulate 
marijuana like alcohol.

One additional clarification: Mr. Dean was incorrect when he said new 
Department of Justice guidelines applied only to states that have 
passed medical marijuana laws through ballot initiatives.

Four of the 13 states that have passed medical marijuana laws have 
done so through their state legislatures, including Rhode Island, 
where a gubernatorial veto was overridden by a 68-0 vote in the House 
and a 35-3 vote in the Senate.

Mike Meno

Marijuana Policy Project
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom