Remove the medical marijuana roadblocks [Letter]

Many, many kudos to The Baltimore Sun for its front page article on Maryland's failure to people with some disabilities and those who suffer in extreme pain due to inexplicable roadblocks to authorize medical marijuana ("Medical marijuana still beyond reach in Maryland," Jan. 28).

We hear many excuses spun as "reasons." Yes, it's still banned by the federal government, but 20 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to help people instead. Two states have even legalized marijuana for recreational use.

To my knowledge, doctors have not lost their licenses to practice medicine. Yet those in our state have refused to help people in need. The law that passed was overly restrictive by requiring a medical institution to conduct "studies." None have done so, and I'm not sure what that would have done for people in Garrett County anyway.

My favorite excuse is that it's a drug and that it will lead to more serious drug use. As a person with epilepsy myself, I've been taking drugs, some with very severe side effects, for over 50 years, which sometimes work pretty well and sometimes don't, but they still make me groggy on occasion.

I'm appalled that we would let a little boy have his face smashed up by a fall from a seizure. I'm appalled that we would continue to allow him to have 10 seizures a week. I'm appalled that we would allow people in severe pain to not have a shot at relief while still functioning.

But my other favorite excuse is that "we must research it first." Research while people are being hurt? I always thought that the mantra, the guiding principle of the medical profession was, "First, do no harm."

We are doing harm, serious harm. Give physicians, with or without a tie to a medical institution, the authority to prescribe. We can continue with research. But first, let's do no more harm to any more Marylanders.

Kate Rollason, Annapolis

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