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Letter: Less reefer madness, more reefer gladness

Its frustrating to see our County Commissioners' behavior toward Maryland's Medical Cannabis Program. They seem to be operating with a Reefer Madness mentality, allowing their policymaking to be guided by distress and superstition rather than established facts and evidence. As a regulatory professional, I was fortunate enough to attend a Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission meeting at Johns Hopkins last year. One of the biggest takeaways for me was the seriousness and professionalism with which the individuals involved in designing this policy (almost all MDs and lawyers) treated the subject. This isn't about Jeff Spicoli, 420, some gateway drug or the Grateful Dead. This is about medicine, plain and simple. A much-needed, effective therapy for helping our most vulnerable patients — folks with chronic illnesses and terminal diseases including all forms of cancer, Parkinson's, MS, epilepsy, etc. Who in our community hasn't felt the impact of one of these devastating conditions?

New applications for medical cannabis are found every day to treat conditions as diverse as Lou Gehrig's Disease and PTSD. In terms of pain management, it is an absolute public health victory and doesn't carry the risk of addiction or overdose posed by opiates — something we have an unfortunate history with here in Carroll County. Of course I understand the Commissioners' misgivings. Cannabis-usage has been prohibited for a long time and as much as we've eased up on cannabis both politically and culturally (see Maryland's decriminalization or Broad City), it's still, for the most part, an undesired behavior. Sure, I get that, and we can discuss all that further when it comes time to debate recreational marijuana, but medicinal cannabis is a completely separate issue and we would be wise not to conflate the two.

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In short, people are suffering. Treatments are available. Let doctors do their jobs and help people be well.

Jonathan Fuhrman

Westminster

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