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Opinion: In Defense of Medical Marijuana

By Maureen Moore
Steven Masone's recent  Opinion Piece  "Medical Marijuana Gateway to Disaster"  of course is from his conservative viewpoint. As an unashamed Liberal, as he well knows, (we have a "point counter point" relationship in other media forums) I want to counter-weigh his postion in on this matter.
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I believe that marijuana, especially medicinal marijuana and its dispensaries, should be legalized and these businesses should be able to continue to remain open to help their patients. In so doing, it might  alleviate some of the economic woes California is  facing.
While some consider marijuana to be harmful to our health, what about other legal drugs like alcohol and cigarettes? Too many drinks could lead to alcohol poisoning and do major damage to the brain, liver and can even lead to a coma. Cigarettes contain hundreds of chemicals. According to the American Cancer Society website, after many years of consumption, tobacco use can lead to emphysemacardiovascular disease and many types of cancers.
On the other hand, there isn’t any concrete proof or facts that marijuana can cause more damage than the drugs mentioned above. Just like any other substance, moderation is the key. Users should be educated about the pros and cons of smoking marijuana and then make an informed decision as to how much should be consumed.
For people who suffer from chronic pain, nausea, anxiety and arthritis, medicinal marijuana is proven to be a better substance for many helping to alleviate their pain. A Washington Post article cites that research conducted over the course of five days at a San Francisco hospital ward tested AIDS patients, all whom suffered from some sort of nerve pain. The patients were allowed to smoke three marijuana cigarettes per day.
After those five days, more than half the patients noticed a decrease of the pain they were feeling before they smoked the marijuana.
With thorough evaluations from doctors in order to obtain a medical marijuana card and providing strict security for dispensaries to keep their businesses open and safe, I believe this will help the patients who otherwise might not have a better alternative to treat their illness.
As to Steven Masone's contention we are bringing into the State less than desirable physicians, may be a valid point, but the American Medical Association has proven pretty effective in policing themselves. Diet Clinics and other less than mainstream Medical practices are watched very carefully, and  also monitored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
While I sympathize with the DEA's position, I disagree that Marijuana should be prioritized. We saw  how divided California's voters are over this issue, but sometimes we have to protect the rights of our minorities even when the majority disagrees.   
Mascone and Moore's point counterpoint appears in the Linden Herald.

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