Pubdate: Mon, 19 Mar 2012
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2012 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Deborah Miran


I've read a pair of forceful screeds against medical marijuana in The 
Sun's editorial section lately ("Medical marijuana laws make a farce 
of medicine," March 7; "Who says marijuana is safe and effective?" 
March 13). Both make the rather uncontroversial argument that 
doctors, not lawmakers, should be determining medical policy. They 
overlook one simple fact though - the lawmaker leading the fight for 
medical marijuana in Maryland is a doctor, Del. Dan Morhaim. In fact, 
Dr. Morhaim is the only licensed medical doctor in the General Assembly.

Both articles also make misleading claims of marijuana's potential 
harms. For example, the March 13 letter asserts that the FDA has 
attributed four deaths to THC. This is spurious. While the natural 
THC found in marijuana has never caused an overdose death, the 
synthetic version of THC found in the FDA-approved drug Marinol has 
caused four deaths. Regarding the potential for a marijuana-related 
overdose, a 1988 ruling by the DEA's own administrative law judge 
found that a marijuana smoker "would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 
times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. 
. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds 
of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response."

As for the claim that there's a lack of adequate research on safety 
and efficacy, a petition to reschedule marijuana filed last November 
by Govs. Christine Gregoire of Washington and Lincoln Chaffee of 
Rhode Island cites as many as 700 peer-reviewed research studies and 
reports on medical marijuana.

As a cancer survivor, I agree that doctors should make medical policy 
in Maryland, which is why I urge the legislature to listen to Dr. 
Morhaim and make Maryland the 17th state to allow seriously ill 
patients to use marijuana for medical purposes.

Deborah Miran, Baltimore County
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