As dangers become clear, states shy away from medical marijuana

February 12, 2011

Now that the smoke has cleared, the state of Montana voted Thursday to repeal the state's six year old medical marijuana law. According to Montana's House Speaker Mike Milburn, "we were duped" and "the law has been a pretext for encouraging recreational use and creating a path to full legalization of marijuana."

In addition, two new reports out this week clearly show that marijuana is not the safe and harmless drug that most people believe it to be. A new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry shows that using marijuana may cause psychosis to develop sooner in patients already predisposed to developing it, and in other patients the drug may even cause psychosis. Not one medical marijuana program in the country does a mental health evaluation before giving a prescription for medical marijuana. How will we ever know the mental status of those attempting to get medical marijuana?

Another report in this months Journal of Sexual Medicine says that marijuana use by male smokers could be causing sexual dysfunction.

Whether you believe these studies or not, at the very least, the state of Maryland should wait until the Food and Drug Administration has had time to study the medical use of marijuana before approving any medical marijuana program here in Maryland. If marijuana does have medical value, it's best to make sure that we offer the medication through a legitimate outlet while also protecting the rest of the public.

Mike Gimbel, Towson

The writer is the former Baltimore County drug czar.

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