Pubdate: Sun, 03 Apr 2011 Source: Bozeman Daily Chronicle (MT) Copyright: 2011 The Bozeman Daily Chronicle Contact: http://bozemandailychronicle.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1686 Author: Nicholas Scarson SB 423 FORCES POT BACK UNDERGROUND Vote No on SB 423. This bill puts unnecessary and ineffective restraints on patients, physicians and the caregivers who help those who suffer every day. This bill will force our suffering neighbors to return to ineffective and life-threatening narcotics that take money away from caregivers and the state in order to funnel it to pharmaceutical conglomerates that don't care about Montana. It will not stop the miniscule criminal activity associated with medical marijuana; just as federal "regulation" has done nothing to stop the illegal trafficking of legal narcotics. The abuse of prescription drugs represents 30 percent of the overall drug problem in the U.S. In Montana alone, the state reports more than 300 deaths per year can be attributed to prescription drugs. OxyContin, for example, is one of the most addictive, abused and dangerous narcotics routinely prescribed to patients with chronic pain conditions. The DEA reports that from 2000 to 2001, there were over 450 "OxyContin verified" deaths in the U.S. If we take a conservative estimate of 200 "OxyContin verified" deaths a year since the DEA's report was published in 2002, an estimated 1,800 people have died as a result of this legal narcotic. As of today, the DEA has recorded zero "marijuana verified" deaths in the United States. It is undeniable, even according to the DEA's own statistics, that medical marijuana is unquestionably a safer alternative to many prescription narcotics used to treat chronic pain. Unquestionably, regulation is needed in the medical marijuana law; however SB 423 will force the medical marijuana program to effectively operate "underground and in the dark." This bill sends the message that we are only willing to help our sick and dying neighbors unseen and in secret. All the voters ask is that medical marijuana be treated in the same manner as all legal pharmaceuticals. Nicholas Scarson Bozeman - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.