Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2016
Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Copyright: 2016 Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Author: Paul Armentano


New York's medicinal cannabis program was drafted and designed 
primarily to be politically expedient, not to adequately serve the 
state's patient population ("Revisit medical marijuana," Feb. 23).

Specifically, the program fails to acknowledge chronic pain or 
neuropathy as a qualifying condition, despite the reality that there 
exist numerous U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical 
trials finding the plant to be safe and efficacious as an analgesic 
agent. A review published earlier this year in the Canadian Journal 
of Anesthesia assessing the clinical use of cannabinoids for pain in 
more than 1,300 subjects concludes, "The recent literature indicates 
that currently available cannabinoids are modestly effective 
analgesics that provide a safe, reasonable therapeutic option for 
managing chronic non-cancer-related pain."

In addition, the program bars patients from consuming smoked 
preparations of cannabis, which largely limits cannabis products to 
extracted oils or edible preparations. This ban unnecessarily limits 
patients' choices and denies them the ability to obtain rapid relief 
from whole-plant cannabis in a manner that has long proven to be 
relatively safe and effective.

Twenty-two additional states, and Washington, D.C., now permit 
physicians to recommend marijuana therapy. Some of these 
state-sanctioned programs have now been in place for nearly two 
decades. Four states also permit the regulated use and sale of 
cannabis by adults.

Early findings from these states' experiences are largely positive. 
At a minimum, we know enough about cannabis, as well as the failures 
of cannabis prohibition, to allow people the option to consume a 
botanical product that is objectively safer than the litany of 
pharmaceutical and recreational substances it could replace.

Paul Armentano

Deputy Director

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom