Pubdate: Mon, 29 Mar 1999
Date: 03/29/1999
Source: New London Day (CT)
Author: Matt Briscoe

To the editor of the Day,

On March 17, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences' Institute
of Medicine (IOM) released its long-awaited medicinal marijuana report.

IOM's report directly contradicts the claims of Drug Czar Barry
McCaffrey, who has said that "there is not a shred of scientific
evidence that shows that smoked marijuana is useful or needed":

1.The report shows there is scientific evidence indicating that
marijuana has medical uses, and that it is safe enough for most
patients who need it.

2.It recommends that people with AIDS, cancer, and chronic pain who
have an urgent need for marijuana be provided legal protection while
further research is done on marijuana's medical uses.

3.It debunks the "gateway theory," saying that there is no evidence
that using marijuana will "lead" someone to use cocaine and other drugs.

4.It also says there is no evidence that allowing sick people to use
medicinal marijuana will cause an increase in recreational marijuana

The report recognizes that even if a pharmaceutical company took an
interest in conducting further studies on marijuana, it would take
many years and hundreds of millions of dollars to get it approved by
the FDA as a prescription medicine.

In the meantime, the report says, seriously ill patients should be
given legal access to marijuana so that they are no longer arrested.

Matt Briscoe
Gales Ferry