Medical Marijuana Measure Should Pass

Medical Marijuana Measure Should Pass
Posted by CN Staff on October 11, 2006 at 06:30:48 PT
Source: Yankton Daily Press 
South Dakota -- Next month, South Dakota voters have an opportunity to embrace what might be considered an act of compassion by passing Initiated Measure 4, which would provide certain seriously ill individuals with access to marijuana for medical purposes.The motivation behind the law is not marijuana, but such things as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis or other maladies -- and, in some cases, the treatment thereof -- that can seriously debilitate individuals.
Reports by the American Public Health Association and the Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that the use of marijuana by some severely ill patients may relieve such symptoms as nausea and vomiting, and generally give some of these people some semblance of a normal life again.Initiated Measure 4 has been supported by more than 170 health care professionals in the state, as well as such groups as the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Lymphoma Foundation of America.Certainly, the use of marijuana for purely medical purposes is a a controversial topic, and opponents of the measure fear it will lead to a broader use of the drug.But Initiated Measure 4 would provide tight controls on the dispensation and use of medical marijuana. The use of marijuana by an individual patient would have to be approved by a physician. Documentation must also be submitted to the state Department of Health. A patient using medical marijuana, which would be acquired by prescription through authorized pharmacists, would not be allowed to drive under the effects of marijuana and may not smoke the substance in any place where tobacco smoking is prohibited. In fact, the measure should be viewed as what the attorney general describes in his ballot explanation as "a defense to criminal prosecution" under state law. Initiated Measure 4 would not repeal any federal laws governing marijuana; in fact, it would add another level of medical verification that should nullify any fears, as stated by some, of rampant increases in marijuana use by the general public.One argument made against the use of medical marijuana is that numerous other drugs have already been tested and approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, but marijuana has not undergone such scrutiny.However, since the aforementioned studies do show the benefits of medical marijuana in offering relief to some suffering patients, it does open the door to a very limited, very scrutinized use of the substance.Also, fears about the unknown effects and potency of marijuana sidestep the facts that patients often react quite differently -- and sometimes, dramatically -- to drugs already approved for use. Some people respond well, others don't. For some people, the medicine meant to help them can have profound side effects. So there are never any absolute guarantees about the effects of any medication or substance.Eleven other states, including neighboring Montana, have already approved some form of legislation for the use of medical marijuana in certain circumstances. Obviously, as more states embrace the use of medical marijuana, more definitive studies and assessments might be given to the subject. If we can overcome our knee-jerk, "Reefer Madness" fear of marijuana per se, the passage of Initiated Measure 4 would help provide physical relief for some suffering patients while removing a couple of the legal roadblocks that could turn such an option into a nightmare for those patients. Under the carefully controlled circumstances provided, it is a law worth embracing. And that's what South Dakotans should do Nov. 7.Source: Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan (SD)Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2006Copyright: 2006 Yankton Daily Press & DakotanWebsite: http://www.yankton.netContact: newsroom yankton.netRelated Articles:Supporters: Med Marijuana Bill Needed Dakota Medi-Pot Supporters Push Forward
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 13, 2006 at 09:43:17 PT
LTE: Medical Marijuana A Pipe Dream
Friday, October 13, 2006By John K. Cornette,
YanktonI've served as South Dakota Elks' Drug Awareness chairman for 25 years. It's been my responsibility to make Elks lodges and communities more aware of the dangers involved in using illegal drugs.
I'm against any kind of legalization of marijuana. I've seen how devastating the use of this drug can be.Should marijuana be made legal for medicinal use? I could write a considerable amount on why this is a bad idea. 
In the states that have such laws, five plants have been allowed to be grown in the homes of those who've received a prescription.One marijuana plant produces approximately one pound of useable marijuana, which equals approximately 1,176 marijuana cigarettes.Five pounds of marijuana equals approximately 5,880 marijuana cigarettes ... times four crops a year equals 23,520 marijuana cigarettes per year ... divided by 52 weeks equals 452-plus marijuana cigarettes per week ... divided by 7 days per week equals 64 plus marijuana cigarettes a day per prescription.Look at this information carefully before you vote.Copyright: 2006 Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan
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