Letters 7-4-13


Cannabis laws need to be changed

Every 19 minutes one American citizen dies from a legal prescription drug overdose. No one has ever died from a cannabis (marijuana) overdose. So why does our government pretend that cannabis is more dangerous than all known prescription drugs, so “dangerous” in its classification that it cannot be legally prescribed by physicians? The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

Medical cannabis patients are still treated as second class citizens. Consider these facts:

1) Medical cannabis patients in Hawaii have no pharmacies or dispensaries to provide their medication. They must either find their medication on the black market or find (illegal) seeds and attempt to grow it over several months.

2) Many jobs require random urine drug tests that can lead to termination of employment. Yet urine tests do not detect current use of cannabis, but in fact detect only past use (for up to weeks). Would society tolerate a test for alcohol that could get you fired for having had a drink two weeks ago?

3) Unlike with prescription medications, Hawaii patients can be certified for medical use only if their medical problem is named on the state list of qualifying conditions. Despite evidence of value for treating post traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, autism, bipolar disorder and anxiety, none of these qualify for use of medical cannabis in Hawaii.

4) Medical cannabis patients are currently afraid to travel with their medicine by air since no protective policy currently exists. San Francisco and Oakland solved this problem with a simple police policy.

With the achievement of legalization for use of cannabis for all adults in Washington and Colorado, medical use of cannabis should no longer be controversial in Hawaii. Elderly patients deserve a clear solution to their search for medication, i.e., dispensaries. Bogus urine tests should not be allowed when better tests, such as saliva or blood tests, are already available. As with other medications, doctors should be able to certify patients for any medical problem for which cannabis has been shown to be effective. And patients should be allowed to fly with their medication to neighbor islands.

Contact your representatives — especially state senators and representatives — and ask them why they are not working for equality and justice under the law. Injustice hurts everyone.

Charlie Webb, MD

Kailua-Kona