5!Marijuana is NOT a medicine!
There currently exists controversy concerning smoking marijuana as a medicine. Many
leaders and members of the public have been misled, by the well financed and organized pro-drug
legalization lobby, into believing there is merit to their argument that smoking marijuana is a safe
and effective medicine. A review of the scientific research, expert medical testimony and
government agency findings shows this to be false. There is no justification for using marijuana as
The California Narcotics Officers’ Association consists of over 7,000 criminal justice
professionals who are dedicated to protecting the public from the devastating effects of substance
abuse, whether cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana. They have seen firsthand the hurting and
often tragic results, both psychologically and physically, for those who chose intoxication as part
of their lifestyles. They have studied the medicinal use of marijuana issue, compiling information
from medical experts to present to those we are sworn to protect. It is their firm belief that any
movement that liberalizes or legalizes substance abuse laws would set us back to the days of the
’70s, when we experienced this country’s worst drug problem and the subsequent consequences.
In the ’80s, through the combined and concerted efforts of law enforcement and prevention and
treatment professionals, illegal drug use was reduced by 50 percent. Teenagers graduating from
the class of 1992 had a 50 percent lesser chance of using drugs than did those who graduated in
the class of 1979. Substance abuse rises whenever public attitude is more tolerant towards drugs
(i.e., they are safe and harmless.) Other factors that contribute to a rise in use include increased
availability, reduced risk with using or selling and lower prices. In 1993, for the first time in 12
years of steady decline, illegal drug use rose and continues to climb. A major contributing factor is
a message that drugs “aren’t so bad.” To counter this “just say yes” campaign, all of us should feel
compelled to provide the facts on the use of marijuana as medicine. These documented facts will
prove beyond a doubt that MARIJUANA IS NOT MEDICINE.
FACT: The movement to legitimize marijuana as medicine is not encouraged by the
pharmaceutical companies, Federal Food and Drug Administration, health and medical
associations of medical experts; but instead by groups such as the National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF). These
organizations have little medical expertise and favor various forms of legalizing illegal drugs.
FACT: The majority of the marijuana advocates’ “evidence” comes from unscientific,
non-examined or analyzed illustrative statements from people with a variety of illnesses. It is
unknown whether these individuals used marijuana prior to their illnesses or are using marijuana
in combination with other medicines. It is also unknown if they had a recent thorough medical
exam or are justifying there use of marijuana, experiencing a remedy effect or experiencing the
intoxicating effect of smoking marijuana.
FACT: The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana (THC) is already available in
pharmaceutical capsule form by prescription from medical doctors. This drug, Marinol, is less
often prescribed because of the potential adverse effects and there are effective new medicines
FACT: The manufacturers of Marinol, Roxane Laboratories inc., do not agree with the
pro-marijuana advocates that THC is safe and harmless. In the Physicians Desk Reference, a good
portion of the description of Marinol includes warnings about the adverse effects.
FACT: Common sense dictates that it is not good medical practice to allow a substance to
be used as medicine if that product is 1) not FDA approved, 2) ingested by smoking, 3) made up
of hundreds of different chemicals, 4) not subject to product liability, 5) exempt from quality
control standards, 6) not governed by daily dose criteria, 7) offered in unknown strengths (THC)
from 1 to 10 percent, 8) self prescribed and self administered by the patient.
FACT: Since the pro marijuana lobby has been unsuccessful in dealing with the federal
government before, they targeted state and local governments to legitimize smoking marijuana as
a medicine. A careful examination of their legislative and/or ballot proposals reveals they are
written to effectively neutralize enforcing most marijuana laws. Crude, intoxicating marijuana,
under their proposals, would be easier to obtain and use than even the most harmless, low level
FACT: Major medical and health organizations, as well as the vast majority of nationally
recognized expert medical doctors, scientists and researchers, have concluded that smoking
marijuana is not safe and effective medicine. These organizations include: the American Medical
Association, the American Cancer Society, National Sclerosis Association, the American
Glaucoma Association, American Academy of Ophthalmology, National Institute for Neurological
Disorders and Stroke, National Institute of Dental Research and the National Institute on Allergy
and Infectious Diseases.
FACT: There are over 10,000 studies available documenting the harmful physical effects
and psychological effects of smoking marijuana. The harmful consequences include, but are not
limited to, premature cancer; addiction; coordination and perception impairment; and a number of
mental disorders, including depression, hostility, increased aggressiveness, general apathy,
memory loss, reproductive disabilities, impairment to the immune system, numerous airway
injuries and other general problems associated with intoxication.
FACT: The medicinal marijuana movement and its media campaign have helped contribute
to the changing attitude among our youth that marijuana is harmless, contributing to the increase
of marijuana use among our young people after twelve years of steady decline. What we don’t
need in this society is more intoxicated people on our highways, in workplaces, in schools, in
college or in our homes.