Pubdate: Fri, 28 Dec 2012
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2012 Sun-Times Media, LLC
Author: Peter Bensinger
Page: 26


The Rev. Al Sharp's Saturday oped on why patients deserve medical 
marijuana flies in the face of science and the official opinions of 
the very associations that represent the patients identified. 
Marijuana is not medicine.

The Food and Drug Administration decides what is safe and effective 
medicine and has determined marijuana is neither safe nor effective.

The World Health Organization, American Society of Addiction Medicine 
and the National Institute on Drug Abuse all oppose making marijuana 
available as medicine.

Mr. Sharp mentioned two patients with multiple sclerosis, but the 
Society for Multiple Sclerosis opposes marijuana as medicine, and so 
does the American Cancer Society. Marijuana has 60 percent more 
cancercausing agents than a cigarette.

The legislation proposed would extend far beyond a few thousand patients.

It allows cardholders 21/2 ounces - up to 285 joints every two weeks.

It would allow anyone to drive after six hours of use, though 
marijuana stays in the body and the brain 50 times longer than alcohol.

It would cause serious problems with Illinois Drug Free Workplace 
policy because it would not allow drug testing for fitness for duty. 
There is marijuana now available by prescription from a doctor, 
available at pharmacies, Marinol, which is marijuana in pill form.

The states that have implemented medical marijuana proposals have 
seen dramatic increases in abuse by teenagers.

Less than 10 percent of those with marijuana cards in the largest 
populated states have serious illnesses such as cancer, MS or AIDS. 
The FDA has determined marijuana is not medicine.

We should listen to them, not to anecdotes unsupported by science.

We should protect our children and our state from teen use, 
addiction, highway and workplace safety problems and abuse in our 
schools and communities.

Peter Bensinger, Former director, Illinois Department of Corrections; 
former administrator of U.S. DEA
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom