|Bill Downing, Medical Marijuana reduces patient suicide rate!|
Published in yesterday’s Daily Times Chronicle
There is a difference between the medical use of a drug and drug abuse.
We have a choice Tuesday – a choice to finally recognize the difference between medical and recreational use of cannabis (known pejoratively as “marijuana”) – a choice between compassion and fear. Compassion for our sick and dying friends, relatives and neighbors. Fear that allowing doctors to recommend the OLDEST AND SAFEST THERAPEUTIC SUBSTANCE KNOWN will lead to increased recreational cannabis use.
A letter published Tuesday asked for “no” votes on November 6 on Question #3, which would allow doctors to recommend cannabis to patients they feel could benefit. The basis of the arguments against allowing medical cannabis were the presumption that allowing doctors to recommend cannabis for patients will increase the use of recreational cannabis. This presumption is not supported by facts.
D. Mark Anderson of Montana State University - Bozeman, Benjamin Hansen of University of Oregon and Daniel I. Rees of University of Colorado at Denver; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) published a study on May 27, 2012, titled: Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use, wherein it is stated, “Using data from the national and state Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 and the Treatment Episode Data Set, we estimate the relationship between medical marijuana laws and marijuana use. Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that legalization leads to increased use of marijuana by teenagers.”
Most of us have had a family member, friend or neighbor who has suffered or is suffering with cancer. Some of them have been told by their doctors that medical cannabis may help quell vomiting, ease pain and relieve anxiety, particularly if they have not found relief from standard treatments, as often happens. Should these friends, neighbors, relatives be exposed to the black market or the risks of arrest when they follow their doctor’s advice? Question #3 allows patients legal access to medical-quality cannabis.
A recent study of medical marijuana and suicide rates concludes, “Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males.”
Lastly, the idea that when medical cannabis is allowed, marijuana will suddenly be available for recreational use ignores obvious realities. Despite the legal prohibition of marijuana, virtually anyone who wants it can already get it – including, unfortunately, youths. Question #3 is not about whether we shall have marijuana in our communities: we already have lots of it, and it’s not going away. Question #3 is about allowing doctors to recommend medical-quality cannabis that patients can get legally and safely.
Let your conscience be your guide and support compassion for patients held hostage by the protracted public hysteria known as the drug war. Please vote “Yes” on Question #3.
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