MA: Public Health Will Benefit From Sound Regulation Of Marijuana

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With all due respect to Tauntons City Council and Boston officials, their position against the legalization of marijuana is overly politically cautious and well-intentioned, but misses the points of their commitment to the public and the opportunity to be visionary leaders.

Marijuana prohibition, like alcohol prohibition form 1920-1933, encourages criminal activity. Prohibition creates rigid laws that are bound to be broken.

Prohibition puts the public health at risk by not enforcing mandatory testing, quality control, standards, oversight and management, and careful safeguards. Massachusetts Ballot Question 4 addresses all of these concerns and more.

When my own son sustained a spinal cord injury on Nov. 29, 2000, and developed unremitting central neuropathic pain, cannabis saved his life from the addiction to opioids that well-meaning physicians prescribed. I am convinced more than ever that the willful ignorance on the part of our federal government to keep cannabis a Class l substance is no solution to the pain and suffering that so many endure, unnecessarily.

Repeated successful case studies in epilepsy, cancer, PTSD, autism, diabetes, pain control, infection, Alzheimers, Parkinsons Disease, ALS, insomnia, MS, muscle spasms, Crohns disease, psoriasis, neuroprotection, anxiety, depression, migraine, anorexia and nausea have convinced legislators in 25 states to legalize medicinal marijuana. Our federal government, by keeping cannabis in Class 1, is causing harm and hindering research.

The Massachusetts Medicinal Marijuana Program is an arduous exercise in frustration for both the physician and the patient to register. It is expensive, time consuming and seemingly deliberately complicated. It is an example of overly conservative rules and regulations, protection and caution. It is a red-tape nightmare. Political and physician support of the medicinal marijuana program was ignored in spite of the fact that the addictive potentials for nicotine, heroin, alcohol, cocaine, and caffeine are all greater than cannabis.

Big Pharm seems to be making a fortune on our societys misfortune.

Marijuana is not a gateway drug. Marijuana has the potential to be a lock on the gate to opioid addiction and the pain medication overdose crisis.

Standardization of any product has to be preferable to an entity that is unknown. Anyone who has a teen knows experimentation and risk taking are part of growing up. USA Today reported a decline in usage in states with legalized recreational use. In August of 2015, The American Psychological Association reported that Teen marijuana use was not tied to health woes. In other words, the legalization of marijuana has likely had little impact on teenagers drug use. In January, proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences found that based on 3,000 teens, Marijuana use doesnt cause IQ declines in teens.

Legal recreational marijuana will free up our police force to do more meaningful work. It will unclog our court system. It will lessen our prison population, reunite families and decrease our incarceration costs. We will have more money to spend on education, health care and repairing infrastructure.

Recreational marijuana will create an industry. It will generate jobs. It will create tax revenue. With a state deficit at almost a billion dollars, this is an opportunity for our leaders and for those who would like relief from their tax burden.

Passage of responsible adult usage of marijuana will increase the number of dispensaries and grow facilities. Because of competition, prices will be lower for the consumer. Those who are trying to find the appropriate CBD/THC combination for their symptoms or diseases will have a wider choice of harvested, standardized, safe alternatives.

Massachusetts voters want choice in their lives, unencumbered by delays, impediments, and red-tape, stand-still bureaucracy. They want safety, they want to be symptom free, happier in general, and able to avoid emergency rooms and physicians offices for every ache and pain.

There may be political problems – extensive coordination between law enforcement, public health and agriculture officials – to confront. Not all citizens will be responsible, and many youths will be risk takers. But the majority over 21 years of age look forward to the overall good for public health.

The positives outweigh the negatives. It may not be easy to implement, but sound regulation of marijuana, like tobacco and alcohol, is responsible, intelligent, and in the best interest of overall Public Health.

Vote Yes on 4.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Public Health Will Benefit From Sound Regulation Of Marijuana
Author: Eric J. Ruby
Contact: 508-880-9000
Photo Credit: Marc Larocque
Website: Taunton Daily Gazette