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New York should weigh negatives of medical marijuana

Monday, May 12, 2014
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New York should weigh negatives of medical marijuana

In this legislative session, there is a bill, S.4406, to approve crude marijuana as a "medicine." The advocates of the legislation claim that "medical" marijuana helps seriously ill people with cancer or AIDS or glaucoma. They paint a picture of elderly ill people who need it for pain relief.

However, "medical" marijuana patient records from California show that 62 percent were between 17 and 35 years of age; and 71 percent were between ages 17 and 40. Only 2.05 percent of customers obtained physician recommendations for AIDS, glaucoma or cancer. An extremely high number of people were using "medical" marijuana for other purposes.

It would be too easy to get marijuana. If you are over age 18, you could obtain marijuana by claiming to have a "serious condition." The definition of "serious condition" is vague and full of loopholes.

If you want a cannabis-based medicine, you do not have to smoke marijuana. There are two approved cannabinoid drugs in pill form already approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration: Marinol and Cesamet. The FDA has determined that smoking marijuana for medical use is unsafe. New York should not override the FDA process. It protects vulnerable patients.

There are no established doses for smoked marijuana. It's unclear how it interacts with other drugs or medical conditions. There is much evidence that smoking marijuana harms sick people.

New York should not model other states' experiences: increased crime, increased substance use, decreased perception of the harm of marijuana by youth and adults, increased drug trafficking, and an overall acceptance of the use of marijuana for many other reasons than the purported medicinal purpose.

The national medical organizations opposed to smoked marijuana as medicine include: American Medical Association; National Multiple Sclerosis Society; American Glaucoma Society; American Academy of Ophthalmology; American Cancer Society; National Eye Institute; National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke; and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dorean Page

Lake Pleasant

The writer is a credentialed prevention professional for the HFM Prevention Council.

Casino doesn't jibe with city's history

What is happening to the city that once "Lit the World?" Why are we not attracting legitimate businesses to our city, rather than a gambling casino that will inevitably do nothing but put money in one hand only to have to pay it out with the other hand? A casino will draw in all of the wrong kinds of influence and people.

Gambling will always be a vice, and offering it on a large scale will promote more people to squander away the money needed for their homes and families. This is not something good to build up a city. Schenectady may not be the fictional "Bedford Falls," but we certainly don't want to turn it into "Pottersville."

As someone whose father worked at General Electric, and whose grandfather worked at Alco, I know that Schenectady has a rich history. Sadly, I feel that our forefathers would have been shocked and disappointed to hear that a gambling casino would be built, replacing the ingenuity that Schenectady was once known for.

JANET MUELLER

Scotia

More pressing issues than Benghazi attack

One more reason to write my legislators. In the May 6 Gazette, the article "Democrats in bind over Benghazi panel," mentioned that House Speaker John Boehner announced the creation of yet another committee to investigate Benghazi.

The Republicans view the mistakes and misrepresentation of that incident as a good knife with which to cut away at Democratic support. True, mistakes were made both in the lack of foresight of the actual event happening and the initial explanation of the event. Although the article suggests, "This has been seriously and thoroughly investigated ... citing 13 public meetings, 25,000 pages of documents, and 50 separate briefing ... .with no smoking gun, and no wrongdoing." Not enough for the Republicans.

Why must I contact my legislators? I want the same amount of time and energy that has been spent on Benghazi spent redoing the farm bill so that we no longer support the farmers who are raising crops which contribute to our nation's health problems with cheap grain products.

Let's support the fruit and vegetable growers to decrease the cost of healthy food. I also want the same time and energy spent redoing our complicated tax code. Close the loop holes for the rich, at least a few of them. Possibly raise the upper limit on Social Security deductions.

There are many areas that need, desperately, the attention of the powerful voices in Congress, but if those voices and that energy were used for items that would better our lives, there would probably not be any energy left over to hatch, yet another, scheme to keep the other party from winning an election.

Read the article and then call your representatives.

Janice Walz

Scotia

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