We Need To Change The Laws Regarding — страница 2

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smokers and dealers switched to Meta Amphetamine ice when Hawaii s marijuana eradication program created a shortage of pot. (2) The one way in which marijuana does lead to other drugs is through its illegality; people who deal in marijuana are likely to deal in other illicit drugs as well. Another myth is that marijuana causes birth defects. While experts generally recommend against any drug use during pregnancy, marijuana has little evidence implicating it in fetal harm, unlike alcohol, cocaine, or tobacco. Studies have found no evident link between prenatal use of marijuana and birth defects in humans. A study of Jamaican women who had smoked pot throughout pregnancy found that their babies registered higher on developmental scores at the age of thirty days, while experiencing

no significant effects on birth weight or length. (2) While marijuana use is not recommended in pregnancy, it may be of medical value to some women in treating morning sickness or easing childbirth. Throughout its long medicinal history, marijuana has established a wide variety of therapeutic applications. Most recently, it has been used to treat some AIDS patients. It can reduce the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by the virus itself and other drugs (4). Marijuana also reduces pressure within the eye and thereby alleviates the pain and slows sometimes stops the progress of glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in the United States (3). Marijuana treats epilepsy and has been known to prevent epileptic seizures in many patients. It is considered to be the best

medication for many types of epilepsy and for most victims post-seizure trauma (1). In addition, marijuana alleviates nausea and pain associated with cancer chemotherapy treatments. Research has shown that marijuana has also been proven to relieve migraine headaches, control plasticity of multiple sclerosis, and help emphysema patients breathe easier. (1). All of the scientifically proven treatments that I have just discussed will have no incorporation in medicine until steps are made for its long overdue legalization. Even with marijuana s broad medicinal uses, the federal government has stood in the way of many states that wanted to use it in research. When the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed, the government thought of marijuana only as a dangerous and addictive narcotic

ignoring its pharmaceutical value. Since then many states have questioned the drugs medicinal attributes. Although the federal government has issued the overriding prohibition of marijuana, the states have held the right to remove criminal penalties for medicinal marijuana. In the last twenty years, ten states, including California and New York, have removed criminal penalties for possession of personal use amounts (4). Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Arizona, and California overwhelmingly adopted initiatives exempting patients who use marijuana under a physician s supervision from state criminal penalties. These laws do not legalize marijuana or alter criminal penalties regarding the possession or cultivation of marijuana for recreational use. Nor do they establish a legal

supply for patients to obtain the drug. They merely provide a narrow exemption from prosecution for defined patients who use marijuana with their doctor s recommendation (5). State legislatures have the authority and moral responsibility to change the state law to exempt patients with a doctor s recommendation from prosecution for possession and cultivation. In addition, they have the power to exempt doctors who recommend medicinal marijuana from prosecution. However, state governments that want to make marijuana medically available have been halted by the federal government s prevailing prohibition. Even California s Proposition 215 cannot keep patients and doctors free from federal prosecution. In the meantime, patients continue to suffer. Congress has the power and moral

responsibility to implement a more humane policy that would allow all fifty states to determine their own policies with regard to allowing or prohibiting the medical use of marijuana. Currently, some patients suffering from AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, and other illnesses are either not receiving the medical marijuana they need or are risking punishment by obtaining it illegally. Marijuana has been proven to be a very safe, non-toxic therapeutic drug; there is no reason for it to be illegal for the treatment of these patients. Before opponents of medical marijuana can make their own decision on the matter of allowing the drugs use as medicine, they must remember that this movement for legalization for medical purposes by no means assumes its legalization for recreational