Pubdate: Wed, 14 Oct 2015
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2015 Sun-Times Media, LLC
Author: Dan Linn


I'd like to respond to Ms. Fay's letter warning Illinois residents 
about medical cannabis becoming available in Illinois.

It is unfortunate that Calvina Fay chose to fear-monger about medical 
cannabis ["Medical marijuana causes host of problems," Counterpoint, 
Tuesday] when surely she is aware of the prescription pain pills that 
are leading to an epidemic of opioid addiction and fatalities. 
Cannabis has neither the same addictive properties as those opioids 
nor the potential for an overdose fatality and by any objective 
account is much safer than many prescription pills.

Furthermore, if medical cannabis is such a problem, why aren't any of 
those other states repealing those medical laws? Obviously. Fay is 
picking and choosing which drugs she feels America should be free 
from, but the reality is that Americans like drugs, whether alcohol, 
tobacco, caffeine or cannabis.

Despite over 75 years of cannabis prohibition, people are still 
growing and consuming this product, and I would opine that if Fay 
wanted to keep cannabis away from teenagers, she should advocate for 
legalizing and regulating the product because drug dealers don't 
verify their customers' ages. However, licensed retailers only 
allowed to sell to adults over the age of 21 would have an incentive 
not to sell to minors. That fact combined with the ability to tax the 
product would allow for education and prevention methods that 
actually work, as we have seen with the reduction in tobacco use among minors.

Medical cannabis, as your editorial noted, can be a godsend for 
patients unable to get relief for their debilitating conditions. Once 
this medicine becomes available, thousands of Illinoisans will have a 
chance to feel better, which apparently Fay is opposed to.

Dan Linn, executive director, Illinois NORML
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