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Medical marijuana could help decrease overdoses

Medical marijuana could help decrease overdoses.

In the article "Overdose patients repeatedly end up in hospital" (Dec. 30), The Sun highlighted a number of strategies to deal with epidemic problem of narcotic abuse. Not mentioned, however, is an article from the August 2014 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Significantly it pointed out that "states with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate."

This is not surprising to Maryland legislators who voted in an overwhelming bi-partisan manner to pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in 2014. In bill hearings, we heard from many citizens with chronic pain who testified that responsible minimal use of medical marijuana helped them decrease or even stop their use of narcotics. And while marijuana — like any other medicine — has its risks, there has never been a recorded medical death from cannabis overdose.

Unfortunately, due to a protracted regulatory process, our state's program is not yet operative, and there are a number of issues still to be addressed. The epidemic of narcotic and prescription drug abuse must be managed, and all tools should be available. This is another compelling reason why the Maryland medical marijuana program should become functional as soon as possible.

Dels. Cheryl Glenn and Dan Morhaim

The writers, both Democrats, represent District 45 in Baltimore City and District 11 in Baltimore County.

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