Medical marijuana use shouldn't be illegal

May 08, 2006

Gerald Kamber, OpEd, Asbury Park Press

I do not use, or traffic in, any illegal drug, nor do I recommend drug use to anyone. I am not a member of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey. But the May 2 op-ed piece "Studies belie claims of medical marijuana as safe option to pain" cries out for a rebuttal.

No one gives a hoot whether scientific evidence shows that medical marijuana is not efficacious, or that it is potentially harmful. People in the last stages of their life regard the harmful effects as a calculated risk. What they hope for is that if they smoke it, it might make them feel better.

They don't need another reason than that.

In spite of the billions of dollars spent for drug prevention, marijuana is only one of a score of drugs easily available to and widely used by our young people. This accounts for the fact that drugs deliver the largest profits of any industry in the United States — more than automobiles, computers, TV and film. Where is it coming from? And where is it going? And who's making all that money from it?

Marijuana, while it is everything the writer says it is, is not more harmful than cigarettes or alcohol, and they're legal. The only reasonable solution is to legalize all drugs like they did in the Netherlands, thereby removing the profits from their production and distribution away from the criminals involved. We should educate our young people to the dangers of all drugs, including cigarettes and alcohol, and while it has only worked moderately well thus far, it's the best we can do.

We should not make criminals out of the victimless crime of smoking marijuana, nor should we refuse to provide medical marijuana to any chemotherapy patient who after being made aware of the risks involved still wishes to smoke it in order to improve the quality of his or her life.

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