Term Paper: Medical Marijuana Is Something to Consider Bill

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Medical Marijuana Is Something to Consider

Bill Number CA 345657686

This bill will legalize the use of marijuana in its natural form for those that meet the criteria set forth. Patients who have a documented disorder or illness that creates chronic pain, and other methods of relief have failed, as well as those who are undergoing chemotherapy treatments and AIDS treatments will be allowed to become certified by their physician to carry a medical marijuana card. This card will allow the patient to grow and possess marijuana in quantities not larger than one ounce at a time for the purpose of personal use to alleviate their symptoms.

Imagine going through chemotherapy and coming home to be so sick to your stomach you could not function. Imagine being so racked with pain through certain diseases that life was no longer a pleasure to take part in. These are real scenarios for thousands of people across the nation as they deal with diseases, disorders and accidents that bring their ability to function to a halt. Years ago marijuana was simply seen as an illegal drug. Polite society did not use it, and supported the harsh criminal sentences that were handed down to those who did use it. It was a clear cut legal issue with very little to counter its foundation. Fast forward to recent history and there have been many medical conditions in which science has found that the use of marijuana can reduce or remove the symptoms of that condition. With this knowledge coming to light society finds itself divided into two camps when it comes to the use of medical marijuana for medical conditions.

Statement of Problem or Dilemma

Once it became known that marijuana use could alleviate some of the symptoms that are suffered by people dealing with cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain and other ailments the race was underway to get it legalized (Laws, 3006).

Eventually 11 states provided some level of legislation that would allow those who obtained medical certification to grow, purchase and use small amounts of marijuana to help them combat their symptoms (Laws, 3006).

Conflict continued as opponents pointed to other methods to combat the symptoms, and patients insisted that nothing worked as well as marijuana use.

Further controversy developed as doctors in those 11 states began being scrutinized for the number of marijuana medical certifications they were signing.

There is a high level of political support for medical marijuana, and clearly that affects the feds," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance. "They've been changing their message from, 'There's no such thing as medical marijuana' to 'We're not going to harass the sick and the dying.' That's been an important evolution (Laws, 3006)."

California went so far as to allow Canibis dispensary storefronts in which a person with a medical marijuana card could go in and order the marijuana of their choice from a provided menu and receive it on the spot (Laws, 3006).

In addition to California, other states legalized the drug's use including Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

The issue at hand appears to be the potential for abuse of medical marijuana laws. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the states with medical marijuana allowances were violating federal drug laws (Laws, 3006).

The potential for abuse of the medical marijuana Compassion Act is what keeps the opponents of medical marijuana arguing against its use.

While there are indeed people with terminal illnesses, and chemo patients that can and do benefit from the affects of marijuana use, it also opens the door for many people to grow, distribute and profit from marijuana outside of the boundaries of true and emergent medical need.

The potential to abuse is there and without extremely strict distribution and cultivation practices everyday drug dealers can open the door to selling it under the guise of growing and distributing for medical use. In addition opponents believe that there are unscrupulous doctors who will be more than willing to certify anyone with a big enough checkbook. This provides the ability for people who have nothing wrong medically to be given a pass for illegal use of a drug.

Those who support medical marijuana use, remind society that people who want to use are going to use with or without laws allowing them to do so. They believe that restrictions can be placed on the practice that will allow those with verifiable medical conditions to be given certification, while still providing room for the arrest and prosecution of those who take advantage of the system to further their drug dealing enterprise.

DEA agents have stormed and raided Hospice centers that use medical marijuana on their terminally ill patients while proponents of its use waged war in the way of protests and lawsuits (Kreit, 2003).

Meanwhile, the people with terminal illness, debilitating pain and other serious conditions hang in the balance.

Arguments in Favor of the Bill

The benefits of medical marijuana dates back to the 1800's at which point the question was raised, though never really explored in depth. In 1970 California enacted a bill that allowed "recreational use" and commanded a $100 tax fine if caught (Kreit, 2003).

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, thirty-three states passed medical marijuana laws; however, they were very different than the state legislation disputed today. Instead of allowing large scale use or distribution programs in violation of the CSA, the majority of these state laws established therapeutic research programs that were officially approved by the federal government under the FDA's Investigational New Drug (IND) program. (54) These state programs were disbanded in 1986 when the FDA approved the drug Marinol, a synthetic version of one of marijuana's main chemicals, tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC (Kreit, 2003)."

The problem became accessibility and the fact that research has indicated smoking marijuana is more effective than taking it in its pill form, especially when it comes to the symptom of nausea and appetite loss caused by illness or chemotherapy.

The benefits of medical marijuana have been proven through research. Scientific studies have shown that the use of THC can and does reduce symptoms including chronic pain, loss of appetite and nausea that can occur through certain medical issues. In addition the evidence from the studies shows that the use of marijuana can relieve and reduce the symptoms that accompany glaucoma as well (Flynn, 2000).

It gives patients with certain debilitating medical conditions an additional treatment option. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, has been shown to relieve the pain and suffering of some patients. It can be beneficial for individuals suffering from nausea, vomiting or lack of appetite due to chemotherapy or AIDS/HIV, pressure within the eye due to glaucoma, and severe muscle spasms from some neurological and movement disorders such as multiple sclerosis (Flynn, 2000)."

When studies were conducted to determine the effectiveness of the THC pill that is now available against the use of smoking the marijuana in its natural state the results overwhelming supported the use of it in its natural state. According to the research taking the pill form does not provide as consistent or measure of relief from the medical symptoms that smoking it can cause to happen.

Many drugs have side affects that can become serious if not dealt with. Chemo for instance can cause appetite and weight loss, severe nausea and other issues that can actually interfere with the ability to continue treatment. Marijuana use has been shown to be able to reduce or eliminate those symptoms therefore providing the ability for the patient to continue with potentially life saving treatments (Flynn, 2000).

The use of medical marijuana would be contained to those who have a demonstrated and documented illness or condition that marijuana can help with and the patient would be required to submit to periodic reviews to determine if the condition still warranted the medical use of marijuana.

Physician Joyce Elders wrote for the Providence Journal in Rhode Island that she supports the use of medical marijuana.

The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS -- or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day (PRO (YES) (http://www.medicalmarijuanaprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-B-Subs-1.db&command=viewone&op=t&id=1&rnd=414.848519162785)."

In addition the Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Lester Grinspoon wrote in a March 1, 2007" that he believed it is a sad commentary on the medical community in America when the government demands proof about the reliability and benefits of a medicine that has been in existence and use for the past 5,000 years.

Marijuana is effective at relieving nausea and vomiting, spasticity, appetite loss, certain types of pain, and other debilitating symptoms. And it is extraordinarily safe -- safer than most medicines prescribed every day. If marijuana were… [END OF PREVIEW]

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