A recent article raised a number of questions about medical marijuana in Maryland and the risk its use poses to public trust in the medical community ("Medical pot rules raise concern," July 26).

As health care providers for this city's children, adolescents and young adults, we witness the harmful effects of chronic marijuana use on health and development in our practice every day. We are thus skeptical of Del. Dan K. Morhaim's assertion that the requirement for continuing medical education for physicians prescribing medical marijuana in Maryland is too burdensome.

This requirement is not a burden but rather a way to ensure that practicing doctors keep up to date on medical evidence. All Maryland physicians are required to complete 50 continuing medical education credits each time they renew their license. The problems Delegate Morhaim cites with designing CME for medical marijuana highlight that it is not actually a standard treatment for any medical condition.

If marijuana were like any other medication available to the most vulnerable patients (for example, cancer and AIDS patients) evidence-based CME programs for doctors would be the norm. The fact that proponents of medical marijuana say that the bar should be lowered for this drug suggests what we have long suspected: That medical marijuana legislation is an attempt to use doctors to legitimize and normalize drug use as a step toward legalization.

Hoover Adger, Maria Trent, Krishna Upadhya, Baltimore

The writers are on the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

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