The benefits of medical marijuana as a treatment

To the Editor,
This letter was sent to Deerfield Valley Community Partnership in Wilmington.

This week I received an unsigned one page brief from your organization advocating Dover residents to support the prohibition of medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational marijuana.  At the outset let me say I am disappointed that such a flyer did not include the authors’ names. Be that what it may, let me respond to some of your misleading statements and alternative facts while identifying a few of the many benefits of medical marijuana.
You write that many ski areas prohibit the use of marijuana on site and you identify specific resorts in Colorado. However, you fail to mention that these ski areas are located on federal land (e.g., national forests) and as such they are governed by federal law, which currently prohibits the sale and use of marijuana on federal property. 
You correctly write that 97 Oregon cities and counties have ordinances that currently prohibit the sale of marijuana. Yet you fail to mention that there are 392 cities and counties in Oregon. In other words, the vast majority of Oregon’s cities and counties do not have such prohibitions.
You correctly write that 77 jurisdictions in the state of Washington prohibit marijuana business. But again you fail to note that 109 jurisdictions have zoning laws in place to allow for the establishment of marijuana business, and another 39 jurisdictions have not taken any action. 
Quoting a Boston Globe March 16, 2017 article, you write, 189 of the (Massachusetts) state’s municipalities have barred retail marijuana stores, and in most cases, cultivation facilities and other cannabis operation.” This is a misleading statement on your part. In fact the Boston Globe article noted that 59 municipalities have barred retail marijuana stores while the remaining 130 placed a temporary moratorium on such businesses to allow local officials time to establish marijuana zoning regulations. Many of these moratoriums, according to the same Boston Globe article you cite, “expire on July 1 and the rest are due to end later this year.”
Your flyer included “10 reasons why towns/cities…have banned medical marijuana dispensaries and marijuana retail shops.” Yet you fail to cite sources for these claims. As such it becomes impossible to validate or assess the veracity of your claim.
Medical marijuana, as of March 30, 2018, is legalized in some form or fashion in 30 states (and the District of Columbia) as research continues to identify its benefits for persons who face a variety of severe illnesses. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, for example, notes that the research is clear and definitive that cannabis or cannabinoids can be an effective treatment for chronic pain and muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis. The American Medical Association (AMA) found that research findings support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic neuropathic or cancer pain; the AMA, as well as the nationally recognized Mayo Clinic, also reported that evidence suggests that cannabinoids were associated with improvements in nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, weight gain in patients with HIV, sleep disorders, and Tourette syndrome. The national Epilepsy Association writes that cannabis helps people with seizures such as the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) in children and adults and Dravet syndrome in children. The Parkinson’s Foundation observes that early research of medical marijuana as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease is promising though more research is needed.  
In other words, medical marijuana has proven to be an important treatment option for people who suffer from an array of painful, often life-threatening diseases. 
I certainly appreciate your organization’s mission to reduce drug and alcohol use among our youth. At the same time, I respectfully request that your organization provide all the facts and not selectively pick and choose parts of a statement, a report, or data to support your position.  
Ira Colby

The Deerfield Valley News

797 VT Route 100 North
Wilmington, VT 05363

Phone: 802-464-3388
Fax: 802-464-7255

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