State Should Legalize Medical Marijuana

March 28, 2007

EDITORIAL, UConn Daily Campus

Connecticut should join the 11 other states that have signed into law bills that would legalize the possession and use of medical marijuana. There has been much heated debate over whether or not Connecticut should join the ranks of Rhode Island and Vermont in allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Talk show host Montel Williams has been on the side of passing House Bill 6715, also known as the Compassionate Use Act. Williams spoke about his experience using medical marijuana at a press conference organized by supporters of the bill. Williams, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, asserts that where OxyContin and morphine have failed to ease his pain, smoking cannabis has helped.

If Gov. Rell signs the Compassionate Use Act into law, the bill will allow adults diagnosed with debilitating conditions to grow as many as four cannabis plants, each no taller than four feet, in a protected, indoor facility. Patients who meet the criteria must also obtain a written certification from their physician and register with the Department of Public Health. Among the debilitating conditions that qualify are cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, glaucoma and spinal cord injuries. Gov. Rell has said that she has mixed feelings on the issue, telling The Hartford Courant, "You would want to do anything possible to alleviate the pain and suffering of any individual." Rell has also speculated about amending a 1981 law that would have allowed doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, had it not been for their risk of being arrested for doing so.

Although opponents of the Compassionate Use Act say that passing this law would send the wrong message to kids, the state needs to first consider the pain and suffering of individuals who might use marijuana to relieve the symptoms of a debilitating disease. For many people with unbearably painful conditions, prescription pain relievers may do little to alleviate pain, while at the same time, carry a greater risk of overdose and adverse physical side effects. It is no stretch to imagine that politicians looking to stay on good terms with the drug companies responsible for manufacturing prescription painkillers will oppose the legalization of medical marijuana on seemingly more altruistic grounds.

Additionally, a recent British study found that marijuana is even safer than alcohol and tobacco. The study rated drugs according to their physical effects on the user, the potential for addiction and the effect of its use on society. Marijuana did not even make the top 10, while alcohol was rated a five and tobacco a nine. Bearing in mind these findings and the fact that marijuana has proven helpful in relieving pain for those suffering from debilitating conditions, Connecticut should go ahead and legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.Connecticut should join the 11 other states that have signed into law bills that would legalize the possession and use of medical marijuana. There has been much heated debate over whether or not Connecticut should join the ranks of Rhode Island and Vermont in allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Talk show host Montel Williams has been on the side of passing House Bill 6715, also known as the Compassionate Use Act. Williams spoke about his experience using medical marijuana at a press conference organized by supporters of the bill. Williams, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, asserts that where OxyContin and morphine have failed to ease his pain, smoking cannabis has helped.

If Gov. Rell signs the Compassionate Use Act into law, the bill will allow adults diagnosed with debilitating conditions to grow as many as four cannabis plants, each no taller than four feet, in a protected, indoor facility. Patients who meet the criteria must also obtain a written certification from their physician and register with the Department of Public Health. Among the debilitating conditions that qualify are cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, glaucoma and spinal cord injuries. Gov. Rell has said that she has mixed feelings on the issue, telling The Hartford Courant, "You would want to do anything possible to alleviate the pain and suffering of any individual." Rell has also speculated about amending a 1981 law that would have allowed doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, had it not been for their risk of being arrested for doing so.

Although opponents of the Compassionate Use Act say that passing this law would send the wrong message to kids, the state needs to first consider the pain and suffering of individuals who might use marijuana to relieve the symptoms of a debilitating disease. For many people with unbearably painful conditions, prescription pain relievers may do little to alleviate pain, while at the same time, carry a greater risk of overdose and adverse physical side effects. It is no stretch to imagine that politicians looking to stay on good terms with the drug companies responsible for manufacturing prescription painkillers will oppose the legalization of medical marijuana on seemingly more altruistic grounds.

Additionally, a recent British study found that marijuana is even safer than alcohol and tobacco. The study rated drugs according to their physical effects on the user, the potential for addiction and the effect of its use on society. Marijuana did not even make the top 10, while alcohol was rated a five and tobacco a nine. Bearing in mind these findings and the fact that marijuana has proven helpful in relieving pain for those suffering from debilitating conditions, Connecticut should go ahead and legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.


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