I pulled the following from the Pro/Con statements published by the Sec. of State's office. This is the "Con" (an appropriate characterization) or "Opposed" statement, written jointly by a doctor and a cop.
Con -- Initiated Measure 13
South Dakota does not need to legalize the growth, possession and usage of marijuana for medical purposes. If this law passed, medical marijuana would still be a violation of federal law.
Newland note: Pres. Obama and Atty Genl Holder have suggested to US Attys that resources are better spent than arresting sick people--in states that have accepted medical use--for using medicine that clearly benefits them. That should provide some cover.
For patients seeking help for medical conditions through the use of marijuana, there is already a legal and FDA-approved medical marijuanalike medicine, dronabinol, available for doctors to prescribe. Dronabinol (sold as Marinol) pills contain the synthetic form of THC (the psychoactive ingredient contained in marijuana) and are legally available for prescription by physicians whose patients suffer from pain and chronic illness.
Newland note: Marinol works okay for some people. Almost all patients who have used both drodrabinol and cannabis prefer cannabis. For some, it doesn't work at all.
Research has not demonstrated that smoked marijuana is helpful as medicine. In fact, smoked marijuana is dangerous. It contains more than 400 chemicals, including carcinogens that may cause lung damage and lead to poor pregnancy outcomes, and smoked marijuana contains three to five times more tar and carbon monoxide than comparable amounts of tobacco. More young people are now in treatment for marijuana dependency than for alcohol or for all other illegal drugs combined. Marijuana abusers are four times more likely to report symptoms of depression and have more suicidal thoughts than those who never used the drug.
Newland note: Research HAS shown that smoked marijuana is helpful in alleviating adverse medical conditions in countless patients. Smoking does produce particulates, but if cannabis actually caused lung diseases or cancer, epidemiologists would be all over it. They aren't. No one knows of anyone who has smoked cannabis regularly and steadily (while not smoking tobacco) who has contacted lung cancer.
The statement about young people being in treatment for "marijuana dependency," while irrelevant to the argument about cannabis medicine, is also simply a lie. Young people are forced into treatment when they are caught with cannabis, and not because they are "dependent."
More likely than whom to be suicidal? There is probably a lot more to the the profile of a typical suicide than that they smoked cannabis. If not, why don't ALL cannabis smokers commit suicide?
Medical marijuana laws also create an increase in drug-related violence. Since the first medical marijuana law passed in the United States, as many as 20 “legal” medical marijuana providers have been killed around the country, mostly in robberies. States that have passed medical marijuana laws have witnessed widespread abuse of the system. In Montana, where medical marijuana was legalized in 2004, a beating death, an assault and two fire bombings linked to the state’s growing and largely unregulated medical marijuana trade have called law enforcement officials to change how the drug is regulated.
Newland note: To the extent that the above has anything to do with the argument, I can't see how putting people in jail for trying to ease their own suffering will help.
Submitted by: Thomas J. Huber, MD, President - South Dakota State Medical Association, Sanford Clinic-Pierre, 640 E. Sioux Avenue Pierre, SD 57501-3300 and Art Mabry, President -South Dakota Police Chiefs’ Association, Chief of Police, City of Vermillion, 15 Washington Street, Vermillion, SD 57069