Pubdate: Wed, 30 Dec 2009
Source: Visalia Times-Delta, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Visalia Times-Delta
Author: Tammy Murray
Note: Tammy Murray is director and chief executive officer of 
Compassionate Cannabis Information Center Inc. in Visalia.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - United States)


As the director and chief executive officer of Compassionate Cannabis 
Information Center, I feel compelled to address my community about 
this business.

It is my sincere wish that the Visalia community and residents 
throughout the Valley could see that medical marijuana use is not a 
black and white issue, but a gray one.

This issue has been hotly debated, even among our law enforcement, 
and the law still exists in a gray area, and most certainly will be 
in front of several judges across the state.

I believe in what I am doing, and I feel it is a noble cause. The 
medical marijuana community consists of people who believe in natural 
remedies over ones made by a biochemist in a lab. Our enemy should 
not be our local community; it should be the big drug companies that 
make drugs that harm people. You see on television, commercials for 
law firms who are raising class action law suits for medications that 
cause damage to people from adverse side effects.

Marijuana is a proven, safe drug that causes people to relax, eat, 
drink and sleep. It is difficult to hear people say that it is 
harmful when there is no evidence for this.

We should not abandon a medical practice for fear of a few abuses. 
There are abuses of several pain medications, including Vicodin, 
morphine, Soma, codeine, etc., but no one is talking about this. 
These drugs are harmful, and marijuana is not. A person who 
continually takes these medications will undoubtedly have liver, 
kidney and pancreas problems. Instead of hearing a drug counselor who 
has struggles with his own addictions and lacks real medical 
knowledge, listen to a bona fide doctor. I have yet to find one who 
will say marijuana is harmful.

The link that many people are making for its harm effect is that it 
could be a gateway drug. It is true that if people have addictive 
personalities, they will flush their lives away with their 
addictions. If a person starts out sniffing paint, should we do away 
with all paints?

I do not advocate that any medications be given to our youth unless 
they need it to live. I believe in protecting our young minds from 
any medications. It is interesting to me that the same people who are 
against medical marijuana are the same people giving Ritalin (ADHD 
medication) to their children and taking sedatives for themselves.

Be wary of what is in your medications. It is most likely more 
harmful than good. Meanwhile, the drug companies who are making it 
will get rich while you will suffer from adverse side effects.

I was inspired to open Compassionate Cannabis Information Center 
while waiting for a doctor at Fresno's Veterans Hospital. I sat next 
to a man who had taken shrapnel internally and could not take pain 
medications because of his compromised digestive system. The only 
thing that could relieve his pain was smoking marijuana.

Not only is marijuana a safe and effective pain medicine, it is also 
extremely effective against psychological disorders. No 
chemical-laden drug can relieve post-traumatic stress disorder as 
marijuana does. Historians will agree that during the Vietnam War, 
the soldiers who endured what they saw, felt and were a part of, were 
more easily overcome by use of marijuana. The soldiers who smoked 
marijuana did well compared with others who did not take this drug.

It takes courage to see an issue from another point of view. If I 
were God, I would support a natural remedy versus one that is 
man-made with obvious harmful side effects.

It is my sincere hope that Visalia and the Valley's residents will 
see this issue differently and allow me to conduct my business.

If the members of my association have to buy marijuana from the 
streets, it will be more costly for them and dangerous because now 
the drug will be in the hands of people who are doing it illegally 
and with that comes more crime.

If the collectives are allowed to exist, there can be more control 
over who has access to this drug. My staff and I are very careful not 
to allow anyone who doesn't have a prescription to have access to 
marijuana. I, too, have questioned the validity of some members of my 
association on the need for marijuana, but that is something to take 
up with the doctors not the collectives.

Safe access to obtain medical marijuana will keep our community 
safer, because the people who use it will go home and stay in a 
condition of sedation instead of out in the community seeking it out 
or stealing for it. This is what will be the consequence of the new ordinance.
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