Tucson hosts talks on medical marijuana
December 03, 2009
Michelle Cohen, Arizona Daily WildcatThe National Association of Boards of Pharmacy hosted a discussion with national medical experts on the legalization of medical marijuana Thursday as part of a two-day symposium. Five medical specialists, including Kevin Sabet, special advisor for policy and strategic planning for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, discussed whether medical marijuana should be legal.
The goal of the event, held at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd., "is to raise awareness about various issues of medical development regarding marijuana and to discuss the experience of states and cities trying to wrestle around these complicated issues," Sabet said.
Sabet added that "medical marijuana is an enormously complex issue."
He said medical marijuana contains over 500 chemical compounds, some of which are still unknown, and needs further research.
"Medicine is best determined by scientific process, not by the ballot box," he said. "There's certainly more research than there ever has been and we encourage that scientific process to move forward."
Alice Mead, director of United States professional relations for GW Pharmaceuticals, agreed with Sabet that more research needs to be done.
"Certainly we need more research," she said. "Patients need to be under the close supervision of physicians and pharmacists."
Caren Woodson, director of government affairs for Americans for Safe Access, said she would like medical marijuana to be removed from it's current classification as a "schedule 1" drug because medical marijuana can help patients.
A "schedule 1" drug is one that has been determined to have a high potential of abuse and is not accepted for medical use, Sabet said.
"We believe cannabis should be a legal option," she said. "We represent patients. I think the perspective that often gets lost is the patient's. Patients should have a safe way to access this information."