Pubdate: Wed, 14 Dec 2011
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2011 The New York Times Company
Author: David Evans
Note: We invite readers to respond to this letter for our Sunday 
Dialogue. We plan to publish responses and Mr. Evans's rejoinder in 

To the Editor:

The Obama administration's recent crackdown on growers and sellers of 
medical marijuana is totally justified. The federal government is 
trying to protect vulnerable people from the use of marijuana as 
medicine, since the drug is not proved safe or effective.

All medications, particularly those containing controlled substances, 
should be required to meet the rigorous criteria of the Food and Drug 
Administration approval process. That process has been carefully 
constructed over the last century to protect patient health and safety.

There are compelling reasons to hold "medical" marijuana to the same 
standard. The 16 states that passed laws approving marijuana as a 
medicine did so through a political process, not a scientific one. 
This alone sets a dangerous precedent.

Marijuana is an addictive, physically toxic drug. It is currently the 
No. 2 cause of admission to treatment programs, after alcohol. The 
legalization of medical marijuana would bring a number of unintended 
consequences, including additional drugged drivers on our roadways, 
industrial accidents and higher rates of addiction.

Advocates of medical marijuana promote its use as a treatment for the 
nausea associated with chemotherapy and for glaucoma, multiple 
sclerosis, AIDS and other ailments. But numerous safe and effective 
F.D.A.-approved medications are available for these conditions.

A century ago, we decided to have a national approval process for 
medicines. If this is left up to the states, there will be chaos, 
with each state having a different standard.

Let's rely on science and not political agendas to decide what is 
good medicine.


Executive Director

Drug Free Schools Coalition

Belvidere, N.J., Dec. 13, 2011
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