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Neil Deatherage

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Should Cannabis be legalized as a medicine?

The rich biodiversity of plants in nature has provided humans many medicines to prevent and cure sickness and disease. The use of cannabis as a medicine continues to gain acceptance within the scientific and medical community, with Connecticut early this month joining 16 other states to legalize it for medical use. Case studies continue to support the value of cannabis as a medicine to ameliorate various ailments ranging from glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, Parkinson's, chronic pain, and nausea associated with cancer.

Despite scientific evidence supporting medicinal qualities from cannabis, much controversy surrounds outright legalization for medicinal use. While many states currently allow cannabis as an alternative to traditional medicines, the FDA continues to classify cannabis as a schedule I drug subjecting patients to possible fines and/or imprisonment under federal law.

Can cannabis find a place in today's society as an alternative medicine, or are possible unforeseen consequences too great to allow this plant for medicinal use?

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    May 22 2012: Wow almost every response is in favor of Cannabis becoming legal. That explains a lot of the responses I have read in the past (LOL). However, when tests are administered to see if Cannabis is in the system they measure for THC the active chemicals in the plant. If that has been identified and can be manufactured then what is the need to legalize? If the perscription is for eyes then add THC to other eye medicines and go to the pharmacy and get your perscription filled. For other ailments do the same medicine plus THC and perscribe. The reason to legalize is to make recreational cannabis available. Thefts were it is grown will go up. resales will go up. Crime in general will increase as the "abusers" will prey on the licenced users. One responder said alchol and cigarettes are killers already available so legalizes all drugs. So, we have two problems lets multiply it to five, ten, or more. The cost of insurance for medical, car, life, etc ... will skyrocket. The welfare generation will be selling off all they can get and use. The "I want it all free" will become more dependent and costly to the few who still work and pay for all of them.

    Nope can not see this as a good thing. Drugs, illegals and criminals are the most expensive cost that burden the workers today. Making it legal will not change the crime rate. It will increase the danger it represents to the public.

    Okay I'm braced for the responses. I have been in police work most of my life and have seen this first hand. Hope it never come to your house or your loved ones. All the best. Bob.
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      May 22 2012: I can't tell if you are trolling. However, I will respond as if you are being serious.

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but your assertions are simply opinions. One cannot definitively say, "If cannabis is legalized for medical use, then crime will... insurance will... etc." Saying you know what will happen is nonsense. In fact, a 5 min GoogleScholar search will provide peer reviewed studies that make claims completely opposite of your assertions.

      Medically speaking, the THC drug you mention is called Marinol. Though it has helped many patients manage various diseases, anecdotal evidence supports the view that it is not as effective as when THC is ingested via cannabis. Furthermore, the drug is costly and many insurance providers will not cover the cost of the prescription. If you had to watch a loved one whither away due to complications of a disease that could be eased with cannabis, I believe making your stance would be softened if not swayed.

      Lastly, in response for your association of the legalization movement and the "welfare generation," I would like to direct you to a recent NY Times op-ed. This editorial was penned by a NY State Supreme Court Justice. Since you are formerly in law enforcement, perhaps the opinion of an individual who 1) is not of the welfare generation and 2) has dedicated their life to upholding the laws of our country as you have may soften your opinions. Here is the web address:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/opinion/a-judges-plea-for-medical-marijuana.html?_r=2&ref=opinion

      Bob, thank you for your service as a police officer. I hope that you continue to consume additional information concerning this subject matter and come to a more defensible, less inflammatory opinion (even if you still disagree with legalization). Disagreement is okay; shooting from the hip on a sensitive issue is less so.
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        May 22 2012: Pat, Lawyers make a living finding someone who will support their client this time and provide evidence against the next time. Lawyers move cases to get favorable judges. Opinion pieces in papers are a dime a dozen. As you yourself state the cost is expensive and insurance will not cover it. If made legal would it still be expensive, would insurance cover it, etc ... Making it legal would not stop abuse. Pat my "assertions" come from the school of been there done that, seen that, hate that. I have seen people die from using drugs but never from not using illegal drugs. Yep I'm hard over on the subject no doubt. I believe that there is a medical field called onocology that helps relieve pain in dying people. Again no need for cannabis. Hope I never have to say I'm sorry this happened to you. Go to your PD and ask for a ride along into the seedy part of town and see first hand the destruction caused by drugs and drug wars. Or go the hospital emergency room and work as a volunteer and see the amount of drug and drug related cases come in each night. If you want in the game argue from the been there aspect and you will have more credability. We are certainly on the different side of the fence on this Pat. All the best. Bob
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          May 22 2012: You cheapen your stance by demeaning the entire legal profession. In my opinion, you are very nearly slandering a State Supreme Court Justice. That Justice, also a cancer patient, deserves more respect than anonymous internet lawyer snipping.

          Sure there are many op-eds to be had, but there is only one NY Times and I would venture a guess it is crazy difficult to get your essay published there. Dime a dozen in the NY Times, I think not.

          Oncology is a medical specialty that deals with cancer and cancer treatment. Sure oncologists deal with minimizing pain, but so do orthopedic surgeons, cardiologists, and ophthalmologists. So discounting the need for cannabis based on the fact there are oncologists isn't the best argument one could make.

          Again, I urge you to research this issue. Having worked in a level one trauma hospital, I can say I have never seen anyone come in due to the ill effects of marijuana. As for the PD suggestion, I have been on two ride-a-longs. My college roommates (3) all now work as police officers in municipalities around Kansas City. I have my bases covered and come to my conclusion on this issue.

          I applaud your disagreement and am encouraged you care enough to reply to my post. I am not trying to dissuade you from your opinion, just hoping you will continue your research and come to a more reasoned defense of your position (it is a very valid position on this issue).
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      May 22 2012: Bob, first off I would like to reply to your surprise to almost every response being in favor of Cannabis becoming legal. This particular talk was posted by a student at University of Oregon in affiliation with a class assignment in which 60 students are required to post. A majority of the posts are from students in Eugene and there is a cultural aspect involving marijuana that may be influencing many students ideas on Cannabis.

      Secondly, THC in pill form is available but the argument against this would be that act of taking marijuana in as a whole (either smoked or oils heated and ate etc) has synergistic effects that cannot be reproduced by simply using one component of marijuana.

      Finally, it is hard for me to see crime rates increasing due to marijuana use, marijuana is omnipresent and the structures to abuse, such as gardens, drug dealers, etc are already in place and are not being abused at any unusual rate. I know many marijuana "users" from every walk of life, including line cooks and 6 figure professionals and none of them prey on others. I think the idea that marijuana makes people criminals is the same ideas as cake making someone fat. Some people are predisposed to criminal activity due to genetics and environment, marijuana does not make someone a criminal. Some people are predisposed to over-consuming cake because of genetics and environment and this makes them fat, the cake doesn't make them fat.

      Peace
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      May 22 2012: Bob, I find your comment very informing. It's interesting to hear a point of view from someone that understands the law side of the issue. When I've had this same debate in some of my previous classes, many students argued that if marijuana was legalized, our crime rate would decrease and the use of the drug would slowly diminish overtime. I believe that we will never truly know what will happen in our society until we see if for ourselves.
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        May 22 2012: Those are arguments of passion not fact. I agree that the final bell would be the determiner. If it is legalized I will obey the law. The people who will win are the lawyers. Losers are the homeowners and business people. Insurance lawyers will add clauses to policies for home, car, and life and rates will go up. Not any different that rates for me if I got a DUI, etc ... Laws will be written to protect the police and the public if the offender is "under the influence". This is a big game that will change many things and none for the better. The new big ad will be "Busted for POT call Joe the Lawyer a expert in cannabis cases". Cops will be sued daily for enforcing "bad" laws and shot at by irate citizens. Nothing good will come from this. For sure it will cost the straight guys. Thanks for the reply. Its not the law side I express. It is the scum of society and dead kids that should never have been there, the suffering of mothers, fathers, kids, and innocents that make me cry. I feel nothing for the scum that prostitutes a young girl hooked on drugs. Sorry to preach. All the best. Bob
    • May 22 2012: Robert what do you think of my assertion that keeping marijuana illegal effectively subsidizes the product to the benefit of organized crime? The Canadian Association of Police Chiefs has advocated decriminalization because keeping it illegal effectively makes the police enemies of young people, who smell the hypocrisy of a police force protecting the rights of pharmaceutical companies and alcohol/tobacco companies to sell drugs while criminalizing those who choose relatively safe and natural alternatives. History shows us prohibition does not work, except to make the criminal element more prosperous while simple users find themselves in jail or socially ostracized.
      Then again, in America where over 3% of the population is in jail or on probation, the business model of incarceration demands tenants....

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