Pubdate: Fri, 07 May 2010
Source: Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, SD)
Copyright: 2010 Argus Leader
Author: GayLynn O. Lang


Here are some facts that substance abuse and prevention counselor
Darcy Jensen overlooked in her April 19 Argus Leader column opposed to
the legalization of medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana is not the only drug being used in the workplace.
Employers have the same liability with narcotics prescribed by
physicians, which, by the way, have a long and proven history of
addiction, accidents and deaths associated with their use.

There are laws on the books for operating motor vehicles under the
influence of drugs. If faced with the choice of meeting a driver or
teacher under the influence of marijuana or prescription narcotics,
I'd much rather be on the road or in the classroom with the person
using marijuana.

Marijuana has a much safer history when compared to narcotics. There
never has been a documented overdose death from the use of marijuana,
nor has there ever been a documented death from marijuana withdrawal,
which is a well-known outcome for those quitting prescription narcotics.

Prescription narcotics are one of the fastest-growing and proven
lethal drug problems that youth in America face. It is not marijuana
leading the abuse of drugs race.

Unlike those who "overdose" from marijuana, Jensen and others never
will have the opportunity to treat dead overdose victims of
prescription narcotics. Marijuana overdose typically results in
lethargy - never death.

Should we as voters condemn those with chronic pain to using proven
addictive narcotics, or should we provide physicians with the
opportunity to prescribe a proven safe and effective drug: marijuana?
What would you want prescribed to you or your loved ones?

Nationwide, of the two million-plus inmates, almost 50 percent are
incarcerated for drugs, with a high percentage being for possession of
marijuana. Can we afford this in these economic times? Can we justify
callous incarceration alongside violent offenders for those who are
found with marijuana for medical purposes?

Tax marijuana and regulate by prescription use only. It is the only
sane approach.

With the worst consequences of all drugs considered in an informed and
intelligent comparison, any South Dakota voter with good conscience
can and should vote yes on the Safe Access Act, Initiated Measure 13,
this fall.

GayLynn O. Lang
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake