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Medical Marijuana

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There currently exists some controversy concerning smoking marijuana as a medicine. Many well-intentioned leaders and members of the public have been misled by the well-financed and organized pro-drug legalization lobby into believing there is merit to their argument that smoking marijuana is a safe and effective medicine. A review of the scientific research, expert medical testimony, and government agency findings shows this to be erroneous. There is no justification for using marijuana as a medicine.

The California Narcotic Officers' Association consists of over 7,000 criminal justice professionals who are dedicated to protecting the public from the devastating effects of substance abuse, whether cocaine, methamphetamine, or marijuana. We have seen first hand the debilitating and often tragic results, both psychologically and physically, of those who choose intoxication as part of their lifestyle. We have studied the medicinal use of marijuana issue, compiling information from medical experts to present to those we are sworn to protect. It is our firm belief that any movement that liberalizes or legalizes substance abuse laws would set us back to the days of the '70s when we experienced this country's worst drug problem and the subsequent consequences. In the '80s, through the combined and concerted efforts of law enforcement, prevention and treatment professionals, illicit drug use was reduced by 50 percent. Teenagers graduating from the class of 1992 had a 50 percent less likely chance of using drugs than those who graduated in the class of 1979.

Substance abuse rises whenever public attitude is more tolerant toward drugs, i.e., they are safe and harmless. Other factors that contribute to a rise in use include increased availability, reduced risk associated with using or selling, and lower prices. In 1993, for the first time after 12 years of steady decline, illicit drug use rose and continues to climb. A major contributing factor is a message that drugs "aren't so bad." To counter this "just say yes" campaign, we feel compelled to provide the facts on the use of smoking marijuana as a medicine. These well-documented facts will prove beyond a doubt that MARIJUANA IS NOT A MEDICINE.FACT: The movement to legitimize smoking marijuana as a medicine is NOT encouraged by the pharmaceutical companies, Federal Food and Drug Administration, health and medical associations, or medical experts; but instead by groups such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF). These organizations have little medical expertise and favor various forms of legalizing illicit drugs.

Pro-legalization organizations have admitted that their strategy to legalize marijuana begins with legitimizing smoking marijuana as a medicine. As reported in High Times magazine, the Director of NORML expressly stated that the medicinal use of marijuana is an integral part of the strategy to legalize marijuana. Tony Serra, a criminal defense attorney associated with the pro-legalization groups, stated that medicinal marijuana is the "chink in the administration's armor" that will lead to society seeing pot's mystical effects of peace, sisterhood and brotherhood. He is also the one who said, "If you kill a cop, I'll pay to take the case;" and "My sustenance is drugs and murder." A former director of NORML, Keith Stroup, told an Emory University audience that NORML would be using the issue of medicinal marijuana as a red herring to give marijuana a good name. The director of NORML, Dick Cowan, is quoted, "The key is medical access. Because once you have hundreds of thousands of people using marijuana under medical supervision, the whole scam is going to be brought up...then we will get medical, then we will get full legalization." Is there any doubt about their true motive while they play this cruel hoax on people with legitimate illnesses?

A leader of the medicinal use of marijuana movement, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard as well as chairman of the board of NORML. He has made absurd claims such as marijuana, like aspirin, is "unusually safe;" using cocaine two or three times a week "creates no serious problems;" and "Chronic cocaine abuse usually does not appear as a medical problem." He wrote a book called Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, which is the bible for pro-marijuana advocates.

The studies cited by the marijuana advocates have been found to be either unscientific, poorly researched, or involved pharmaceutical THC, not marijuana. One of their "experts" who testified at the 1987 federal hearings to reschedule marijuana was a wellness counselor at a health spa who admitted under oath to using every illegal mind-altering drug he ever studied. Another "expert" admitted he had not kept up with new medical or scientific information on marijuana for over 18 years. Another doctor claimed there was voluminous medical research on the effectiveness of marijuana but under oath, when asked to cite the number of the studies, he replied, "I would doubt very few." The fact is that there is not one reliable scientific study that shows smoking marijuana to be a safe and effective drug.

The majority of the marijuana advocates' "evidence" comes from unscientific, non-scrutinized or analyzed anecdotal statements from people with a variety of illnesses. It is unknown whether these individuals used marijuana prior to their illness or are using marijuana in combination with other medicines. It is also unknown whether they have had recent medical examinations, are justifying their use of marijuana,



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