Pubdate: Wed, 11 Mar 2015
Source: Independent  (UK)
Copyright: 2015 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Further to Janet Street-Porter's column on pain-killer abuse (7 
March), new research published in the Journal of the American Medical 
Association shows that US states with open medical marijuana access 
have a 25 per cent lower opioid overdose death rate than cannabis 
prohibition states.

The protective effect grows stronger with time. States with 
established cannabis access showed a 33 per cent reduction in deaths. 
This finding has huge implications.

The substitution effect was documented by California physicians long 
before the JAMA research. Legal cannabis access is correlated with a 
reduction in opioid and alcohol abuse. The cannabis plant is 
incapable of causing an overdose death. Not even aspirin can make the 
same claim, much less alcohol or painkillers.

The phrase "if it saves one life" has been used to justify all manner 
of drug war abuses. Legal cannabis has the potential to save 
thousands of lives.

Robert Sharpe Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, DC
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