As Maryland legislators look to the legalization of marijuana, I urge them to look at the impact and monitoring of "medical" cannabis, which theoretically has regulations to control the use of this potent drug. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission regulates providers and growers. There is no recourse to file a grievance against providers who do not abide by the regulations.
Christine Miller's warning comes too late for us (“Before Maryland legalizes marijuana it should consider this: Pot is linked to psychosis,” Apr. 18). Our son had no genetic predisposition toward psychosis. A psychiatric evaluation when he was 40 showed no evidence of psychosis. Neither did he have one of the “qualifying conditions” for the use of medical marijuana. He had not explored other treatments before receiving the recommendation that allowed him access to unlimited amounts of this expensive and unmonitored drug. No qualified provider reviewed his medical history and, if they had, they would have seen he was diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder following a marijuana induced psychotic episode that put him in a locked psychiatric unit for seven weeks (at a cost to Medicare of $56,000) following a series of violent events.
Maryland's Civil Rights' laws protect him for involuntary treatment for his mental illness, even though he is completely delusional, paranoid and with no insight as to his condition. A grievance was filed with the Maryland Board of Physicians and the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. The dispensary that sold him the drugs and the qualified provider, who coincidentally worked at the dispensary, were put on notice as to the contraindications of providing cannabis to our son. There was no response. The grim reality is that our son will probably end up on the streets until he is arrested for a crime he will commit, which will most likely be the result of his paranoia. It is only when the criminal justice system is in charge that he can be compelled to seek treatment and then it will be too late.
While there was nothing we could have done to save our son — and we tried everything imaginable — the sobering lesson is that open access to marijuana places many unsuspecting adults at risk of psychotic breaks. As Ms. Miller states, the results are devastating. If this can happen with medical marijuana, imagine the impact of legalizing marijuana.
The next time you see an unkempt adult with vacant eyes panhandling on the streets of Baltimore, please be kind. It could be our son — or yours. Consider yourself informed.
Karen Shavin, Baltimore