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Argument in Favor of Proposition 215

Arguments on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.


PROPOSITION 215 HELPS TERMINALLY ILL PATIENTS

Proposition 215 will allow seriously and terminally ill patients to legally use marijuana, if, and only if, they have the approval of a licensed physician.

We are physicians and nurses who have witnessed firsthand the medical benefits of marijuana. Yet today in California, medical use of marijuana is illegal. Doctors cannot prescribe marijuana, and terminally ill patients must break the law to use it.

Marijuana is not a cure, but it can help cancer patients. Most have severe reactions to the disease and chemotherapy--commonly, severe nausea and vomiting. One in three patients discontinues treatment despite a 50% chance of improvement. When standard anti-nausea drugs fail, marijuana often eases patients' nausea and permits continued treatment. It can be either smoked or baked into foods.

MARIJUANA DOESN'T JUST HELP CANCER PATIENTS

University doctors and researchers have found that marijuana is also effective in: lowering internal eye pressure associated with glaucoma, slowing the onset of blindness; reducing the pain of AIDS patients, and stimulating the appetites of those suffering malnutrition because of AIDS 'wasting syndrome'; and alleviating muscle spasticity and chronic pain due to multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and spinal cord injuries.

When one in five Americans will have cancer, and 20 million may develop glaucoma, shouldn't our government let physicians prescribe any medicine capable of relieving suffering?

The federal government stopped supplying marijuana to patients in 1991. Now it tells patients to take Marinol, a synthetic substitute for marijuana that can cost $30,000 a year and is often less reliable and less effective.

Marijuana is not magic. But often it is the only way to get relief. A Harvard University survey found that almost one-half of cancer doctors surveyed would prescribe marijuana to some of their patients if it were legal.

IF DOCTORS CAN PRESCRIBE MORPHINE, WHY NOT MARIJUANA?

Today, physicians are allowed to prescribe powerful drugs like morphine and codeine. It doesn't make sense that they cannot prescribe marijuana, too.

Proposition 215 allows physicians to recommend marijuana in writing or verbally, but if the recommendation is verbal, the doctor can be required to verify it under oath. Proposition 215 would also protect patients from criminal penalties for marijuana, but ONLY if they have a doctor's recommendation for its use.

MARIJUANA WILL STILL BE ILLEGAL FOR NON-MEDICAL USE

Proposition 215 DOES NOT permit non-medical use of marijuana. Recreational use would still be against the law. Proposition 215 does not permit anyone to drive under the influence of marijuana.

Proposition 215 allows patients to cultivate their own marijuana simply because federal laws prevent the sale of marijuana, and a state initiative cannot overrule those laws.

Proposition 215 is based on legislation passed twice by both houses of the California Legislature with support from Democrats and Republicans. Each time, the legislation was vetoed by Governor Wilson.

Polls show that a majority of Californians support Proposition 215. Please join us to relieve suffering and protect your rights. VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 215.

 
RICHARD J. COHEN, M.D.
Consulting Medical Oncologist (Cancer Specialist),
California-Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco

IVAN SILVERBERG, M.D.
Medical Oncologist (Cancer Specialist), San Francisco

ANNA T. BOYCE
Registered Nurse, Orange County

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Last modified: 11.07.2012