Pubdate: Thu, 27 Feb 2003
Source: Ocean County Observer (NJ)
Copyright: 2003 Ocean County Observer
Author: Gary Storck


Ocean County Narcotics Strike Force Director Terrence P. Farley's letter, 
"Misinformation abounds on medical marijuana" of Feb. 24, shows that when 
it comes to medicinal pot, he is also the director of misinformation.

I am sure by now the Observer has received many letters rebutting Farley's 
lurid claims about the dangers of cannabis, so rather than trying to 
address all of them, let's take an in-depth look at just one. According to 
Farley, "As a factor in emergency-room visits, marijuana has risen 176 
percent since 1994 and now surpasses even heroin."

Prohibitionists like Farley love to cite emergency-room data as proof that 
cannabis isn't harmless; however, according to the Drug Abuse Warning 
Network figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 
there are only 125,000 total ER mentions of pot, of which just 25,000 are 
for pot only. All of the rest involve alcohol or some other illicit 
substance. The fact is the legal drug alcohol accounts for roughly 25 
percent of all ER visits, while marijuana by itself and combined with other 
substances involved less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

Farley's passion for prohibition makes it seem he is more interested in 
preserving the industry that pays his salary than showing any compassion 
for the very real suffering of millions of Americans who can find a little 
solace and regain a little dignity through the medicinal use of marijuana. 
It is not a hoax, and for a public figure to use his office to insult sick 
and dying fellow citizens like Cheryl Miller in such a manner is shameful.

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