Lawmakers in New York continue to debate legislation that seeks to legalize medical cannabis for qualified patients. Meanwhile, opponents of this compassionate and common sense measure argue that acknowledging the known therapeutic benefits of cannabis and protecting those who could benefit from its use inexplicably “exploits” the seriously ill.
Unlike medi-pot opponents, I actually interact with cannabis patients. Often, they seek me out — writing me testimonials like the one below. Perhaps if more politicians and, God forbid, members of law enforcement shared in these sort of one-on-one interactions, they’d change their tune. Or perhaps, they would do what Presidential hopeful John McCain did, and simply turn their backs.
Letters for June 16, 2008
via The Oneonta Daily Star
Marijuana works as a medicine
Kudos for your editorial support in favor of legally protecting patients who use cannabis therapy under the guidance of their physician (“Medical marijuana makes sense,” June 7).
While authoring the recent publication, “Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids: A Review of the Scientific Literature” (NORML Foundation 2008), I reviewed more than 150 clinical and preclinical studies assessing the therapeutic value of cannabis and its active compounds to treat symptoms — and in some cases moderate disease progression — in a variety of illness, including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, diabetes and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Nearly all of the studies cited in my work were published within the past eight years.
Unlike many politicians and law enforcement officials, I frequently interact with medical marijuana patients. Many of them write to me daily, as do their physicians. Often they tell me stories like this: “I was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor inside the left temporal lobe of my brain. I had surgery, and I’ve just started chemotherapy and radiation. The surgeon actually apologized for the fact that he could not write me a prescription for marijuana, but he told me it was safe to smoke. … Marijuana is saving my life right now; it has helped to kill my seizures, nausea, dizziness, and calm my headaches. If marijuana can help me with all my other problems in addition to possibly reducing the size of my tumor and extending my life, then why on earth would our government not allow me to have it?”
Armentano is deputy director of NORML and the NORML Foundation.
Television ads in favor of pending medical cannabis legislation are now airing in select markets of New York state. To view the ad, click here. To learn more about what you can do to support efforts to legalize medical marijuana in New York, please click here.