Pubdate: Sun, 09 Nov 2014
Source: Florida Today (Melbourne, FL)
Copyright: 2014 Florida Today
Author: Lance Impoco
Note: Impoco is a registered pharmacist. He lives in Satellite Beach.


Congratulations to all who voted against Amendment 2, to legalize 
medical marijuana. You have succeeded in leaving this valuable and 
proven drug in the hands of criminals and organized crime.

The article in Thursday's FLORIDA TODAY included a quote from one an 
opponent, who stated that if legalized, medical marijuana could lead 
to criminal activities by those who would take advantage of its availability.

Could there possibly be anyone naive enough to believe people won't 
still get cannabis to relieve their suffering and pain? Prohibition 
of alcohol worked well, didn't it?

Research by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a brain surgeon and medical 
correspondent for CNN, found there has never been a documented case 
of an overdose from marijuana alone. Most overdoses are the result of 
the synergistic effects of multiple drugs and alcohol. Someone in the 
United States dies every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose.

My opinion, based on a 45-year career in pharmacy, is that many 
believe all the falsehoods surrounding cannabis, which are the result 
of an absurd 1938 film that depicted pot smokers becoming psychotic zombies.

The federal government has done its part by leaving cannabis as a 
schedule 1 drug, whose criteria include no substantiated medical use 
and high potential for abuse, lumped in with heroin, LSD and ecstasy, 
among others.

I don't think many people are aware alcohol is a drug, classified as 
a depressant, and is worse than cannabis could ever be, but it's 
legal. How many lives and families have been destroyed from this 
legal substance?

Cannabis is a natural substance and has been used for thousands of 
years, yet alcohol is obtained by the fermentation of grains and 
fruits and is a chemical process.

I am not condoning the recreational use of pot. My personal 
involvement in the medical marijuana issue stems from my cousin, who 
lives in South Florida and is his late 20s. Diagnosed with a brain 
tumor, he has endured horrific side effects from his first round of 
chemotherapy. In his case, none of the prescribed anti-nauseant meds 
helped very much.

Kudos to those who have shown their sympathy and compassion for those 
suffering from terminal and debilitating illnesses while taking away 
another option from physicians who try to manage these patients.
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