Pubdate: Mon, 09 Mar 2009
Source: Pocono Record, The (Stroudsburg, PA)
Copyright: 2009 Pocono Record
Author: Meagan Johnson


Editor, the Record:

Your editorial in support of the medical marijuana  legislation which
passed the New Jersey State Senate on  Feb. 23 highlights the need for
the Assembly Health  Committee to post Assembly Bill No. 804, the
Compassionate Use Act, for a hearing as soon as  possible and for the
entire Assembly to move this  important bill to the governor's desk.
(End 'reefer  madness' for patients' sake: Legalize medicinal
marijuana in Pa., Feb. 26). Seriously ill people living  in states
like New Jersey and Pennsylvania can't wait  any longer for their
state legislators to pass laws  allowing safe access to medical marijuana.

Each year thousands of people are diagnosed with  life-threatening
illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS,  and multiple sclerosis. The
symptoms and suffering  caused by these illnesses can be devastating,
especially when for some patients, currently available  medicines do
not offer relief. For these patients,  medical marijuana may offer
hope for relief from  terrible symptoms such as pain, nausea, loss of
appetite and wasting.

The effectiveness of medical marijuana in relieving  such symptoms was
confirmed by a 1999 study by the  congressionally chartered Institute
of Medicine.

Allowing patients access to medical marijuana has been  endorsed by
numerous medical and professional  organizations, including the
American Academy of Family  Physicians, the American Public Health
Association, the  American Nurses Association and the American Bar
Association. Between 1996 and 2002 more than 60 state  and national
polls found overwhelming public support  for medical marijuana.
Support has increased over time  as the public has learned more about
the issue.

Compassion and common sense dictate that doctors be  allowed to
recommend, and patients be allowed to  access, the medicine best able
to relieve suffering and  improve quality of life.

Meagan Johnson Policy Coordinator, Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey

Trenton, N.J.
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