Pubdate: Thu, 02 Oct 2014
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2014 The Tribune Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Page: A12


Regarding the editorial. 'Reject medical pot amendment' (Our Views, 
Sept. 28): Open access to medical marijuana has beneficial 
side-effects. New research published in the Journal of the American 
Medical Association shows that states with unrestricted medical 
marijuana access have a 25 percent lower opioid overdose death rate 
than marijuana prohibition states. The protective effect of medical 
marijuana grows stronger over time. States with established access 
showed a 33 percent reduction in overdose deaths. This research 
finding has huge implications for states like Florida that are 
struggling with prescription narcotic and heroin overdoses. The 
phrase 'if it saves one life' has been used to justify all manner of 
drug war abuses. Legal marijuana access has the potential to save 
thousands of lives.

Robert Sharpe, MPA, Washington, D.C.

The writer is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy.
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