Medical marijuana should be considered

February 09, 2005

EDITORIAL, Auburn Plainsman - Alabama

Alabama could join a growing number of states examining alternatives to traditional medications if a state legislator introduces a medical marijuana bill this session.

Rep. Laura Hall, D- Madison, said she plans to announce on Feb. 17 that the Compassionate Use Act for Medical Marijuana will be part of her legislative agenda.

The bill, still in draft form, will be similar to legislation passed in states like California, where marijuana use is legal when prescribed by a physician for patients with certain ailments.

“It would have to be disease-specific,” Hall said.

“We’re really a very conservative state. It would certainly not be anything outlandish.”

A Mobile Register-University of South Alabama poll showed that 75 percent of 417 respondents supported the idea of medical marijuana if used under a doctor’s supervision.

We hope state legislators are as open-minded about the issue as the Alabamians polled.

The government-funded Institute of Medicine has acknowledged the benefits of THC (marijuana’s primary active ingredient), and it seems to be a viable alternative to highly addictive medications like hydrocodine and Oxycontin.

Smoking marijuana does come with its own health risks (largely from the smoke itself), but so does every other medication known to man. A competent physician can determine if the risks are worthwhile.

Legislators should leave the medicine to the doctors.

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