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What the opponents will say
33. Is medical marijuana a “gateway” drug that will lead patients to try stronger drugs and increase addiction issues?
There are many people who have experienced and used medical marijuana a number of times for its many medical and therapeutic benefits without being inspired to progress to dangerous narcotics like cocaine and heroin. In fact, medical marijuana is increasingly being recognized as a tool to help addicts reduce dependence and get off of dangerous drugs such as opioids.
34. Will taking this step eventually lead to legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Mississippi?
No. This is a healthcare initiative for people suffering from debilitating medical conditions and serious illnesses; this initiative advocates only for the use of medical marijuana. Only nine states and Washington D.C. have legalized adult use of recreational marijuana. Those include Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Washington D.C.
35. Is allowing the use of medical marijuana supported by law enforcement?
Law enforcement organizations and officials in Minnesota, Vermont, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Maine, and Nevada have supported medical marijuana and acknowledged that the medical marijuana laws in their respective states have not caused problems. In fact, this Medical Marijuana 2020 ballot initiative is backed by members or former members of law enforcement here in the state of Mississippi.
36. Have states with medical marijuana programs seen an increase or decrease in teen marijuana use?
Legalizing medical marijuana has been shown to result in decreased teen marijuana use. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine found that the rates of marijuana use by young people are falling as more states are making medical marijuana available and are decriminalizing its use. A study from the Centers for Disease Control found that marijuana use in the United States decreased by 17%, from 15.8% in 2002 to 13.1% in 2014, among kids ages twelve to seventeen.
37. How will the availability of medical marijuana affect drivers and the overall rate of fatalities caused by driving under the influence?
The laws are the same for medical marijuana as for any other medication. If a driver is found to be operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance, normal law enforcement procedures would be applied. However, there is significant research that shows states with medical marijuana programs have seen a decrease in traffic fatalities.
An American Journal of Public Health study examined data in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System over nearly three decades to determine the relationship between fatal traffic accidents and medical marijuana programs. States with medical marijuana programs showed lower rates of traffic fatalities than states without them.
38. What if a child accidentally accesses a piece of medical marijuana candy, or another form of an edible, and consumes it thinking it was a normal piece of food?
The Department of Health will set forth the guidelines and requirements related to the labeling and packaging of medical marijuana products. Additionally, as with any medication, it is recommended that medical marijuana products be stored in a safe place out of the reach of children.
39. What would be the punishment/consequence for obtaining medical marijuana illegally?
Illegally obtaining medical marijuana as an unqualified patient would result in criminal or civil sanctions by law enforcement. The Medical Marijuana Treatment Center would be accountable to the laws and regulations set forth by the Mississippi Department of Health.
40. Are there warnings or side effects; how are these monitored?
As with most other medicines/treatments, if a patient consumes more than the recommended dosage, they will not feel well. However, a benefit to using medical marijuana in place of some other treatments is that patients are unable to overdose on medical marijuana. While they may not feel well if too much is taken, they will not die from it as they can with opioids. Doses can be discussed by the patient and their doctor as well as the Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers.
41. Will patients who use medical marijuana get "high" or become “intoxicated?”
The two main cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Some medical conditions are helped by simply using a CBD only type, while other medical conditions respond better to a compound including a ratio of CBD and THC. Different strains or types can have varying amounts of these, which means that the medicine can have different effects based on the strain used.
Patients may feel effects of their medication as they would with any other medication; however, this is dependent upon the strain and the amount consumed, as well as how each patient responds to the treatment. The benefit of medical marijuana is that all dosages are clearly labeled and explained as medication in a pharmacy would be, which allows patients to use the medicine in the most effective ways.
Additionally, the goal for medical patients is not to get “high.” If someone is seeking to get “high,” they would be labeled as a recreational user, not a medical marijuana patient with a qualifying debilitating medical condition. Medical marijuana patients are seeking relief from debilitating medical conditions so that their quality of life can be made better, and they are willing to adhere to right process as it is made available to them to do so.
42. Does the dosage need to increase at any point in order to remain effective?
It is possible depending on the patient and the severity of their condition; however, it could also decrease as well. For a cancer patient suffering from chemo-related nausea, if the chemo treatments were to increase, the patient would most likely want to also increase the amount of medical marijuana to offset the increase of chemo. The dosage amount should be determined on per-person basis.
43. Is marijuana more harmful than alcohol and tobacco?
Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco are legal, yet they are known to cause cancer, heart failure, liver damage, and more. According to the Centers for Disease Control, six people die from alcohol poisoning every day and 88,000 people die annually due to excessive alcohol use in the United States. There are no recorded cases of death from marijuana overdose. Additionally, there are no recorded cases of lung cancer attributed to smoking marijuana.