Pubdate: Mon, 05 Jan 2015
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2015 The Baltimore Sun Company
Authors: Cheryl Glenn and Dan Morhaim


In the article "Overdose patients repeatedly end up in hospital" 
(Dec. 30), The Sun highlighted a number of strategies to deal with 
epidemic problem of narcotic abuse. Not mentioned, however, is an 
article from the August 2014 Journal of the American Medical 
Association (JAMA). Significantly, it pointed out that "states with 
medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid 
overdose mortality rate."

This is not surprising to Maryland legislators who voted in an 
overwhelming bipartisan manner to pass comprehensive medical 
marijuana legislation in 2014. In bill hearings, we heard from many 
citizens with chronic pain who testified that responsible minimal use 
of medical marijuana helped them decrease or even stop their use of 
narcotics. And while marijuana - like any other medicine - has its 
risks, there has never been a recorded medical death from cannabis overdose.

Unfortunately, due to a protracted regulatory process, our state's 
program is not yet operative, and there are a number of issues still 
to be addressed. The epidemic of narcotic and prescription drug abuse 
must be managed, and all tools should be available. This is another 
compelling reason why the Maryland medical marijuana program should 
become functional as soon as possible.

Dels. Cheryl Glenn and Dan Morhaim The writers, both Democrats, 
represent District 45 in Baltimore City and District 11 in Baltimore County.
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