Pubdate: Wed, 28 Oct 2015
Source: Athens News, The (OH)
Copyright: 2015, Athens News
Author: Paul E. Robinson


To the Editor: This is a plea for a rational and compassionate 
perspective on the issue of medical marijuana. I must be honest. It 
is personal for me as I suffer from multiple sclerosis.

The opinions expressed here, however, were formed long before it 
became a personal issue. My objectivity has not changed, but my 
compassion has deepened.

Many years after Congress passed laws criminalizing the use of any 
marijuana, it once again is recognized as a legitimate medicine.

To continue to argue that marijuana has no known medical use is an 
erroneous argument. The May 25 issue of TIME and the June 15 issue of 
National Geographic, for example, cite some of the research 
establishing the medical usefulness of marijuana and the hopes 
researchers have for it.

I never cease to be amazed by the number of good, decent people who 
once they hear I occasionally use marijuana share with me that they 
do, too. For example, a friend of mine who suffers from MS, a mother 
of five wonderful children, finds great joy in her improved ability 
to walk and climb stairs after she uses marijuana. There are 
countless stories much like this, of people with cancer, Parkinson's, 
arthritis, PTSD, epilepsy, depression, anxiety, etc., finding 
marijuana helpful, if you take the time to listen and have their trust.

To argue that marijuana is a dangerous drug is an equally deceptive 
argument. To be sure, all drugs possess the potential to harm. 
Marijuana is no exception. But to believe that marijuana is so 
dangerous that it should not be legalized flies in the face of the facts.

Besides, if the potential for harm were a criterion to disqualify a 
drug from legal use, countless drugs would have to be taken off the 
market. The result would be that millions of Americans would 
experience untold suffering

Any rational and compassionate approach to marijuana must consider 
the possible effects of legalized marijuana on our youth. Perhaps its 
legalization would result in an increase in its use. How much, if 
any, is an unknown. What is known is that if it were legal, it would 
not have to be purchased from a dealer who is also pushing harder drugs.

If marijuana were legal, at least as a medicine, patients would be 
able to buy the exact strain of marijuana they need. They would not 
have to break the law. They could be certain of its purity and not 
have to be concerned if it's laced with harmful chemicals.

This all brings me to Ohio Issues 2 and 3. Issue 2, if passed, would 
negate Issue 3. Issue 2 is an attempt by our legislators to thwart 
the will of the people if the voters should decide in favor of Issue 
3 and also pass Issue 2. It is a cowardly, dastardly act on their part.

A rational, compassionate voter will vote "NO" on Issue 2 and "YES" 
on Issue 3. Lives would be saved, much suffering would be relieved, 
and quality of lives would be improved if Issue 2 fails and Issue 3 
passes. Please vote "NO" on Issue 2 and "YES" on Issue 3.

Paul E. Robinson, Ph.D., psychologist

Mansfield, Ohio

(Alumni of OU and Chauncey High School)
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