Pubdate: Fri, 29 Apr 2016
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2016 The New York Times Company
Author: Paul Armentano


To the Editor:

Re "Northeast Opiate Crisis Stalls Marijuana Legalization" (news 
article, April 20):

Marijuana access is associated with reduced incidences of opioid 
abuse and mortality.

According to a 2015 National Bureau of Economic Research study, 
"States permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a 
relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose 
deaths compared to states that do not."

Separate studies also find that cannabis is associated with better 
treatment outcomes in opioid-dependent subjects. Writing this year in 
the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers at Columbia 
University reported a "beneficial effect of marijuana smoking on 
treatment retention."

They added, "Participants who smoked marijuana had less difficulty 
with sleep and anxiety and were more likely to remain in treatment as 
compared to those who were not using marijuana."

Opioids were responsible for over 2,000 deaths in New England over 
the last year, while cannabis is incapable of causing death by 
overdose. Politicians should welcome the opportunity to bring 
necessary and long-overdue regulatory controls to the marijuana market.


Deputy Director, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

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