Dear Editor
Marijuana is NOT Harmless
Montanans were sold a bill of good in 2004 that the process of getting medical marijuana was by going to their doctor and receiving a prescription. Montanans were deceived back then and the proponents of I-182 are trying to deceive Montanans this time as well.
By 2008 Montanans saw the irresponsible, unregulated, and unmonitored program explode in Montana. Traveling doctors “recommended” cannabis to their “clients,” despite the fact that they lack even the most rudimentary information about the composition, quality and dose.
While pharmaceutical companies are responsible for any harm that befalls a patient from their products and tobacco companies are held accountable for damage done by cigarettes, marijuana providers and dispensaries hold no accountability for their product where very little is known. At a time that efforts are being made to stem the epidemic of prescription drug abuse, I-182 would allow distribution sites to proliferate without true regulation.
A state ballot initiative should NOT be the process to approve medicine. The general public is not qualified to make medical decisions. The practice of medicine is evidence-based, and the legalization of a drug with the potential for abuse by the general population that has no qualification to determine composition, quality and dose is a bad way to practice medicine. It guarantees the failure of a program that may have potential success for patients who need medical marijuana under a doctor’s care and it ensures the accessibility of recreational marijuana to the rest of the population.
Montana should NOT pass I-182 because the marijuana provided to patients who have debilitating diseases should not be getting treatment without a doctor’s care by marijuana that is not reviewed for its safety and efficacy, where there is not standardization and formulation for dosing, and there is not regulated, closed system of distribution for marijuana which is a drug with abuse potential.
Montanans need to vote “NO to I-182.” It wasn’t a good idea in 2004, and it is not a good idea in 2016. If you take the time to compare the two initiatives from 2004 and 2016, it is obvious that not only have the pro-marijuana proponents NOT made the medical marijuana safer for people with debilitating conditions, they have also opened up the system so that those who want to use it recreationally can have easier access to it.
Steve Zabawa
Billings, Montana

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