Support for the medical use of marijuana

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau has announced his support for the medical use of marijuana. The District Attorney was joined by Montel Williams in announcing support for legislation introduced by New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

Manhattan District Attorney Morgenthau said, "I support this legislation because marijuana should be available to those whose suffering would be eased by its availability. Morphine, codeine and other controlled substances have been available for years to those who are in pain and for other medical purposes. Medical marijuana should join the list of carefully monitored drugs that should be made available to those in need."

Mr. Williams said, "As a medical marijuana user myself in states where it is permitted, I can speak first hand about its efficacy and its value. I wholeheartedly support its medicinal use and look forward to the day when New Yorkers will have access to it."

"If a patient and his or her doctor agree that marijuana is the most effective treatment for a life-threatening illness, government should not interfere," said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and sponsor of the bill. "The choice between swallowing a medication in a synthetic pill or inhaling the natural form should be a medical decision, not a legal or political issue."

Ten states in the United States already permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Other states and countries are also considering marijuana's use for certain medical conditions.

Numerous responsible medical authorities have also approved the concept of the medical use of marijuana.

Patients report that certain physical conditions are eased by the use of marijuana, including the nausea that accompanies chemotherapy or the loss of appetite or wasting that occurs during treatments for illness or as a reaction to medication. In addition, marijuana is reported to ease the symptoms of illnesses such glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

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