EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 9, 2012

Letter: Vote ‘No’ on medical marijuana

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

With the upcoming election, Question 3 regarding the medical use of marijuana allows voters to approve or disapprove of a law to eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by patients with debilitating medical conditions.

This legislation is being driven by popular vote based on public approval and political convenience rather than scientific data. I believe that voters should consider scientific data before they make a decision.

There are no benefits to patients having access to a drug or medical treatment without knowing how to use it, the acceptable dosage, its effectiveness, and possible side effects. New drugs need to be clinically determined as being safe and effective for their intended use prior to being marketed. This requires well-controlled clinical trials and scientific data to which proper dosing, clear instruction for use, and known side effects of the medication can be determined. Currently, there are no accepted scientific studies with animal or human data to support the safety or effectiveness of marijuana for medical use. Would you like to take a medication that has not been tested and shown to be safe? What if there is evidence that marijuana is actually harmful? How would you vote then?

Garden grown marijuana is neither pure nor refined. There are no standards established to assure safety of the product. Marijuana is composed of more than 400 different chemicals, many of which are harmful to the body. When smoked, these chemicals break down into more than 2,000 chemical compounds that contain many of the same toxins found in tobacco. Marijuana can become addictive, causing other social and economic problems.

With the lack of scientific data to support medical use of marijuana and known harmful effects, voters should vote “No” on Question 3.

Putting scientific data aside, would you really want to take a medication that could be grown in your neighbor’s back yard? I sure wouldn’t.

Sara Pietila