Pubdate: Mon, 05 Jul 2010
Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Copyright: 2010 Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Author: Mitch Earleywine


Gerald Turetsky's recent commentary, "Medical marijuana too 
dangerous, costly" (June 30), contains substantial misinformation 
that could lead New Yorkers to make unethical decisions about helping 
fellow citizens.

He confuses the impact of marijuana with the impact of marijuana 
prohibition, and perpetuates myths that have been summarily disproved 
for decades. Contaminants in the plant arise because cultivation has 
been forced into an underground market, not because the plant is 
inherently problematic.

As data from my own laboratory show, marijuana need not cause lung 
problems. The plant does not change brain structure in adults, create 
dependence on hard drugs, or weaken human immune function.

More than 150 studies confirm the therapeutic value of the plant's 
active compounds for treating nausea, vomiting, weight loss, multiple 
sclerosis, pain, and a variety of other ailments.

Physicians prescribe medicines that are markedly more dangerous than 
marijuana every single day.

We cannot turn our backs on sick New Yorkers whose only relief comes 
from a plant with a 5,000 year record of medical efficacy and safety. 
New marijuana bills are not about generating revenue. No one wants to 
balance the budget by squeezing money from our sick.

The new bills are about doing what is right -- helping to relieve the 
suffering of those who are ill.

Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D.

Professor, Psychology

University at Albany
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