Marijuana a medicine for N.Y. to avoid

In this legislative session, there is a bill, SB 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 older than 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, including:

– 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 the American Medical Association, the?National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the?American Glaucoma Society, the?American Academy of Ophthalmology, the?American Cancer Society, the?National Eye Institute, the?National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the ?Food and Drug Administration.

The Medical Society of the State of New York also sent the New York State Assembly a position statement opposing any process that entrusts the state Legislature with the function of approving medications.


Credentialed prevention professional,

HFM Prevention Council