Pubdate: Thu, 20 Jun 2013
Source: Montana Standard (Butte, MT)
Copyright: 2013 Montana Standard
Author: Paul Armentano


The opinions expressed by Pat Prendergast ("Pot more dangerous than 
you know,"June 16) are his own - literally.

According to a nationwide poll telephone poll commissioned this month 
by Fox News, 85 percent of Americans say that marijuana should be 
legal if its use is permitted by a physician. The total is the 
highest level of public support for the issue ever reported in a 
scientific poll.

To date, 18 states and the District of Columbia allow for the legal 
consumption of cannabis therapeutically. Lawmakers in Illinois just 
approved similar legislation. New Hampshire lawmakers are poised to 
do the same in the coming days. In recent weeks, lawmakers in Maine, 
Nevada, and Oregon have enacted legislation expanding their existing 
medical marijuana programs.

The science surrounding the safety and efficacy of therapeutic 
cannabis is well established. A recent summary of FDA-approved 
clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis 
for a variety of debilitating conditions concluded, "Based on 
evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not 
tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or 
that information on safety is lacking." The full text of this review, 
which appears in The Open Neurology Journal, is available online 

In short, neither facts nor public opinion support Mr. Prendergast's 
fringe position. Adults ought not to face arrest and incarceration 
for their consumption of a botanical product that is objectively 
safer than the litany of pharmaceutical and recreational drugs it 
could replace.

Paul Armentano, 1600 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. Armentano is the 
deputy director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of 
Marijuana Laws, and he is the co-author of the book "Marijuana Is 
Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?"
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